Africa-Press – Namibia. Financial services provider Letshego has issued an ultimatum to employees: Get vaccinated by 31 January 2022 or you will be barred from entering the company’s premises. The circular, released by the office of the CEO, Ester Kali, states that all employees are required to be fully vaccinated by 31 January 2022.
“All employees who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to enter the premises in the interest of maintaining a safe and healthy working environment – and should, as a result, strictly work from home with limited support,” stated Kali in a circular that went viral yesterday.
She said, following communication from the company on 21 December 2021 concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, the implications and effect of the fourth wave of the Omicron variant as well as the wellbeing of the employees and customers being a priority, the company decided to introduce and implement those measures.
“A pandemic management policy and strict protocols at protecting the wellbeing and safety of our employees, customers and stakeholders will be shared with the employees during January 2022. Non-adherence to the policy will not be taken lightly and will likely add to serious consequences for employees who do not comply,” read the statement.
Letshego gets on the bandwagon of other institutions that have introduced such measures, including Namibia’s national oil company National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor), which instructed its employees to get vaccinated in October 2021 – and those refusing to do so were given the option of working from home.
Namcor stated that the mission of introducing such measures is to create and ensure a Covid-19 free working environment. “Those who wish to not be vaccinated due to religious or health reasons may be required to submit supporting documents from the medical practitioners or religious leaders,” explained Namcor’s managing director Immanuel Mulunga.
Another company, the United Africa Group, granted its workers last year until 30 September to comply with its vaccination policy. Staff yesterday told New Era up to 80% of members complied, and others who have provided medical reasons for not taking the vaccine are being monitored. The low levels of vaccination have been a thorn in the country’s side, as daily statistics show clearly that the unvaccinated dominate ICU occupancy numbers and deaths.
The country’s third wave of Covid-19 during June and July 2021 took the lives of about 3 000 people. Namibia also had to discard expired vaccines worth millions of dollars, and the expiry dates of more doses loom, while many show a lack of trust in the vaccines.
During the last national Covid-19 briefing in December 2021, President Hage Geingob stated that Namibians cannot afford to have a situation where more vaccines, which have been acquired at great cost and effort, are left to languish until they reach the expiry date, deeming it simply unacceptable.
“It is unfortunate to observe that vaccine uptake, which remains voluntary and based on personal responsibility in favour of the common good, has been slow. As a country, we are far from the goal of herd immunity, which we have set for ourselves several months ago,” stated Geingob.
He added: “I should not plead with you to get vaccinated or to receive booster shots because it is for your health and that of your fellow citizens. Individual responsibility is paramount in our continuing fight against Covid-19”.
Since Namibia started its vaccination campaign in March 2020, the country has recorded 348 522 adults who have completed their vaccination to date, translating to 23.2% of the target population. The country needs to reach at least 60% to achieve herd immunity.