Compelling citizens to vaccinate breeds resistance, warns OYV

OPERATION Young Vote says compelling human beings or citizens to get vaccinated is one of the worst approaches and strategies as it breeds a lot of apprehension, suspicion and resistance which may lead to desperate individuals to fake vaccination certificates.

Executive director Guess Nyirenda said the government’s approach to preparing for and ‘fighting’ the anticipated COVID-19 fourth wave leaves a lot to be desired.

“This subtle mandatory and compelling strategy to reach certain thresholds is more detrimental and suspicious to members of the general public as opposed to being appreciated as being employed to really deal with the pandemic as it were,” he said. “Operation Young Vote (OYV) notes with concern that the Minister of Health [Sylvia Masebo] particularly and the UPND government in general are being seen in the light of forcing citizens to take the vaccine by threatening them with none entry to public buildings and institutions if unable to provide proof of vaccination through the COVID-19 vaccination certificate.”

Nyirenda said whereas OYV appreciates that vaccination was one of the surest ways of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and further that there were more merits in one being vaccinated than otherwise, OYV takes great exception in the approach taken of seemingly forcing citizens with threats even in respect of the derogation of human rights as provided for in the Republican Constitution.

“We further are of the considered view that compelling human beings, citizens, is one of the worst approaches and strategies as it breeds a lot of apprehension, suspicion and resistance which may lead to desperate individuals faking vaccination certificates,” he said. “While the strategy may yield the required numbers and threshold of persons to be vaccinated the resultant effect on citizen’s trust on leadership and governments, now and in the future would be disastrous in case of any eventuality caused or not caused by the consumption of the vaccine.”

Nyirenda said some eventualities may be purely coincidental but citizens may be forced to think otherwise due to the strategy employed of compelling them to vaccinate.

He advised the Ministry of Health to immediately retract the seemingly compelling, “forcing strategy by allowing everyone vaccinated or not entry into the public and government facilities”.

Nyirenda said the government should approach different stakeholders who may include the Church, Civil Society Organisations, associations, volunteers and individuals among many and together mount a massive awareness and sensitisation campaign on the significance, value, merits and benefits of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are of the conviction that the best approach to such challenges is to allow citizens and communities appreciate the problem in this case the pandemic, bringing them on board to finding and owning the solution as such is the only sustainable means,” said Nyirenda.

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