Mon, 20 Sep 2021

HARARE, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Several companies in Zimbabwe have issued ultimatums to their employees to get vaccinated after many have ignored repeated calls by the government for members of the public to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

While others have issued outright warnings of mandatory vaccination for one to keep their job, some are employing persuasion tactics to encourage staff members to be vaccinated.

State grain company, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), is one such company that has ordered all its 3,569 employees to be vaccinated by the end of this month or stop coming to work.

As of mid this month, only 1,289 employees had been vaccinated, leaving out 2,280 unvaccinated, the company said.

The GMB, which has been exempted from lockdown measures, has the majority of its depots located in COVID-19 hotspot areas.

"GMB provides essential services to the public, as such, we are considered frontline employees. In view of that, all GMB employees must be vaccinated by July 31, 2021.

"Those not vaccinated by that date should stop coming to work from August 1, 2021 as they will remain a threat to other employees and other stakeholders that visit GMB depots," GMB chief executive Rockie Mutenha said in a circular issued recently.

It's a hive of activity at GMB depots across the country as farmers are delivering maize grain following a bumper harvest this year.

State-owned fixed telephone operator, TelOne, has also warned that it may soon take further measures against workers that are not vaccinated.

The company, reeling from low business due to the pandemic, has introduced vacation leave for staff members starting with those that are not vaccinated.

It has also suspended the COVID-19 allowance for unvaccinated workers.

"This is especially because unvaccinated individuals are at the highest risk of the effects of COVID-19 virus, while also posing a great risk to all other staff and the company's business continuity," the company said in a statement.

The company warned of further measures for workers that remain defiant.

"It is key for staff to ensure that they are vaccinated as this is a proven means of managing the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Staff are advised that besides this being good protection for themselves, the company may soon take further measures against the unvaccinated in order to protect vaccinated staff members and the business," the company said.

Fertilizer company Windmill said it is offering a reward to its workers who get vaccinated.

"The company will be reviewing the traditional one bag free issue normally given out in August by availing an additional one bag for those staff members (excluding executive management) that have been vaccinated," the company said in a notice.

Having so far received several batches of mainly Chinese vaccines, Zimbabwe has fully vaccinated a mere 700,000 people while 1.5 million have received their first dose since the vaccination program started in February.

The country is targeting to vaccinate at least 10 million of its approximately 15 million citizens by year-end to achieve herd immunity.

Zimbabwe has to date recorded 101,711 COVID-19 cases and 3,280 deaths.

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