THE Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has warned employers and institutions of higher learning against forcing staff and students to take Covid-19 vaccines.
The CGE expressed its concerns that employees who do not vaccinate may have their contracts terminated by employers if vaccination mandates are allowed to continue without taking the workers’ human rights into consideration.
According to the commission, it noted a new study published in the medical journal Obstetrics & Gynaecology earlier this month has found that vaccines may cause a small change to the menstrual cycle length but that this change is temporary.
”While health experts believe this finding is not clinically significant, the commission would like to caution businesses and various institutions against forcing employees to vaccinate and imposing harsh sanctions on them if they do not,” the CGE said.
It further added it was aware several companies in the corporate and retail sectors have introduced mandatory vaccinations in their workplaces, and many more may follow suit.
”The CGE would like to warn that mandatory vaccination mandates do not supersede the South African Constitution and its provisions.
“Section 12 (2) of the Constitution states that everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right— (a) to make decisions concerning reproduction; (b) to security in and control over their body; and (c) not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without their informed consent,” the chapter nine institution explained.
The CGE said maintaining public health, reaching herd immunity, and preventing mutating Covid-19 variants are noble acts but should not be achieved by trampling the basic human rights that are enshrined in the Constitution.
”When scientists establish a connection between Covid-19 vaccinations and women’s reproductive health, such as menstrual cycles, many women may not be comfortable taking vaccines due to possible long-term effects.
“These women’s wish to delay vaccinating should be respected in the context of our country’s human rights commitment,” the CGE said.
It called on institutions of higher learning to afford the same respect to students and workers who may not wish to vaccinate.
Independent Media reported that non-profit organisation, the National Black Consumer Council, has asked the Constitutional Court to determine whether the implementation of mandatory Covid-19 vaccines is ultra vires (beyond the powers) and derogates non-derogable constitutional rights.
The council, which says it is not anti-vaccine but pro-choice, has filed an urgent application at the apex court and issued a stern warning to companies forcing their employees to get vaccinated.