BULAWAYO – Unvaccinated nurses and doctors, or those that have taken only the first dose of Covid-19 vaccines, will not be paid starting this month, according to a ministry of health circular.
The government gave its workers until October 15 to undergo mandatory vaccination, with those failing to do so threatened with loss of pay and further unspecified disciplinary action.
Matabeleland South provincial medical director Dr Ruth Chikodzore, in an October 28 internal memo to district medical officers, wrote: “With reference to Health Services Board minute dated September 14, 2021. The following measures for unvaccinated staff have been imposed and must be implemented with immediate effect: Cessation of salary for all members vaccinated once after October 15, 2021. Cessation of salary for all unvaccinated staff.
“Members with medical conditions to produce valid medical reports. Pregnant mothers to provide proof of maternity leave. Members vaccinated once must not report for duty until they produce proof of second dose. Cessation of salary for members who were vaccinated once some months back and failed to have the second dose to date.”
The government has not published statistics of how many of its workers have snubbed the vaccines. Human resources departments were ordered to compile the lists, with names being sent to the Salary Services Bureau to stop payments.
Sources said the directive is causing agitation among health workers, amid fears the data capture was replete with errors.
“Some of us who were vaccinated are being left out of the list. We have raised the issue with the human resources office in the province,” one nurse said.
She added: “What is also of concern is that a number of staff members just signed the vaccination cards without getting the jabs so that they can produce it as proof of vaccination. There is a lot of corruption.”
The ministry of health has been the most aggressive enforcer of vaccine mandates, but with nurses and doctors in short supply, it remains unclear how it plans to bridge the gap if the number of unvaccinated staff is substantial.—Kukurigo