MTN considers mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for employees

MTN says the move is part of its commitment towards protecting the health and safety of staff.

MTN Group's new vaccine policy was a measure to meet MTN's legal obligations in regard to providing a safe workplace. [Reuters]

MTN Group has announced plans to implement a mandatory vaccination policy for all its staff from January 2022.

MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ralph Mupita, said this in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

Mupita said that the move was part of MTN's commitment to protect the health and safety of staff and workplaces.

"The science is clear. Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces the rate of serious infections, hospitalisation, and death.

"As an employer, we have a responsibility to ensure that our workplaces are guided by the highest standards of health and safety, and that has informed our decision to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for our staff.

"Our new COVID-19 policy recognises that some of our markets don't have adequate access to vaccines.

"It also recognises some low-risk roles that will be accommodated with full-time work-from-home or alternate arrangements, but this will be a small population within our workforce," he said.

Mupita said that both the World Health Organisation and the Africa Centres for Disease Control advocate vaccines as an important measure to protect people.

"Vaccine equity continues to be a major issue for African countries.

"As MTN, we add our voice to the calls for more vaccines to be made available to African countries, as herd immunity will only happen when the whole globe has reached a sufficient level of COVID-19 vaccination," Mupita said.

He said that the latest travel bans on African countries by developed nations were not based on science, unjust and add to the lack of support for Africa that was much needed for an effective global response to the pandemic.

Mupita said that African countries were being punished for the transparency that was actually needed to successfully combat the impact of COVID-19 virus on the lives and livelihoods of the people.

"The latest data shows that across the continent, only seven per cent of Africans have been fully vaccinated.

"This compares with a global population vaccination rate of 55 per cent. The fight against COVID-19 needs a global, comprehensive and equitable allocation of vaccines," he added.

Mupita said MTN Group's new vaccine policy was a measure to meet MTN's legal obligations in regard to providing a safe workplace.

He added that the policy would be subject to risk assessment and local laws that apply to the MTN Group, operating companies and subsidiaries.

MTN said that it also recognised the right of employees to apply to be exempted from the policy and/or refuse vaccination on certain clearly defined grounds.

Mupita said that MTN would not be obliged to continue the employment or contract of staff members who are not exempted from vaccinations either through risk assessment or agreed exclusions but still refuse vaccination.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the new mandatory vaccination policy follows the Group's 25 million dollars donation to the African Union's COVID-19 vaccination programme.

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