Experts discuss vaccine mandates as ACDP pickets against compulsory jabs
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Cape Town - As the battle to convince more people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, legal and health experts have debated how to reassure the public and encourage vaccination in a context where there is widespread mistrust in government and experts.
The discussion webinar was hosted by public interest law centre, Section 27, and, among the ideas that were discussed, was the controversial topic of mandatory vaccinations.
Claude Leon Foundation constitutional governance chair Pierre De Vos said: “We need to think about the extent to which rights are limited, and how severe that limitation is. We need to consider the science of vaccines in order to assess the justifiability of limiting rights.
“Would a vaccine mandate constitute discrimination that is unfair? How would courts adjudicate on an issue like this? Covid-19 vaccine mandates may not even be the most severe infringements of the right to bodily integrity as is found in the case law,” said De Vos.
Section 27 executive director Umunyana Rugege spoke about the impact of corruption during the pandemic on the public’s ability to trust in government and the vaccine roll-out
Social analyst Tessa Dooms said people’s fears mattered and addressing such fears would get a step closer to addressing the public health crisis.
“We want people to buy in to the process as opposed to creating an antagonistic relationship with the health system. Building trust is about leveraging relationships, the people who got vaccinated should become champions for vaccines in their personal relationships.”
The discussion came as members of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) protested at the Western Cape premier’s office in Wale Street, where they handed in a memorandum in which they argued that vaccine mandates are unconstitutional.
Led by the party’s mayoral candidate Ferlon Christians, the ACDP supporters handed their “Freedom of Choice Memorandum” to provincial director-general Harry Malila, and said they werwe firmly against the concept of mandatory vaccinations.
Christians said that the ACDP would not hesitate to challenge the mandatory vaccine issue in court if members of the public were victimised for not getting vaccinated. He said that it was a constitutional issue.