Frontliners walk-out

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No Jab no job effect hits NRH

BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO

A number of frontline workers at the National Referral Hospital who refused to be vaccinated have left their job due a memo urging mandatory vaccination for public servants.

This was confirmed to this paper by Dr George Malefoasi, Chief Executive Officer, National Referral Hospital.

“I can confirm to you that few of our frontline health care workers have decided to refrain from their duties, due to the memo concerning the mandatory vaccine agreed by cabinet,” Malefoasi said.

He stressed that services are not affected because the rest of his health care officers have received their COVID-19 doses.

“Those who walked away are the very few and the ones that refuse to get vaccinated.

Malefoasi said they have advised health care workers to come back to work and wait on the advice from the Ministry of Public Services before further action can be taken. 

It was agreed by cabinet on Friday 30th July 2021 at one of its sittings that the above-mentioned groups of people not receiving their first doses of COVID-19 vaccinations will not have access to their workplace.

Minister of Health and Medical Services Dr Culwick Togamana last month confirmed that the three groups of people to take the vaccine are as follows;

  • all public servants and employees of the central and provincial governments and eligible members of their families,
  • all staff of state-owned enterprises [SOEs] and other government institutions / subsidiaries and eligible members of their families
  • employees of private companies undertaking work at the front-lines – such as shipping agents, airlines, stevedores, crews of fishing vessels and eligible members of their families.

Togamana said this applies to the three mentioned groups in the provinces where the COVID-19 vaccination rollout had already commenced including Honiara, Western Province, and Choiseul Province, Guadalcanal Province and Malaita Outer Islands to receive their first doses of COVID-19 vaccination by 31st August 2021 and their second dose by 30 November 2021.

“Any person covered under the above categories who chooses not to get their 1st dose of vaccination by 31st August will not be allowed to access their place of employment, and any person in the three categories not fully vaccinated by 30th November 2021 will be taken as having chosen to self-terminate their employment,” he said.

Togamana said Cabinet also agreed that for the provinces where vaccination rollout is yet to commence, all employees under the above 3 categories will have 60 days [2 months] to get their first dose of vaccination and the last date to take their 2nd dose of vaccination will be 12 weeks from the date of the closing day for the 1st dose period.

“Like those in Honiara, Western, Choiseul, Guadalcanal provinces and Malaita Outer Islands, any person under the above categories who chooses not to receive their first dose by the end of the period for taking the first dose, will not be allowed to access their workplaces, and if they still choose not to be vaccinated by the closing date of the 2nd dose period will be taken as having chosen to self-terminate their employment,” he said.

Togamana adds that the mandatory vaccination came about because cabinet has set a national vaccination target to achieve 80 percent of their 1st dose vaccination coverage nationally by 30th November 2021, and 80 percent 2nd dose vaccination coverage nationally by 28 February 2022.

“It is not the government’s intention to punish people. Its intention is to protect the total population of this country from COVID-19,” he said.

Meanwhile, the total number of the three groups of people who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is not yet confirmed.


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