Africa’s largest mobile phone company MTN has announced mandatory Covid-19 vaccines for its staff from January but it will give exemptions on “certain clearly defined grounds”.
“For those staff who are not exempt from vaccinations either through risk assessment or agreed exclusions but still refuse vaccination, MTN will not be obliged to continue the employment contract,” the South Africa-based company said in a statement.
It is the biggest company yet to state it would terminate employment contracts for non-compliance by workers, according to the Bloomberg news agency.
“The science is clear. Vaccination against Covid-19 reduces rates of serious infections, hospitalisation, and death,” MTN Group chief executive officer Ralph Mupita said.
“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,” he added.
Latest data showed that across Africa, only 7% of people have been fully vaccinated compared with a global population vaccination rate of 55%.
“The fight against Covid-19 needs a global, comprehensive and equitable allocation of vaccines,” Mr Mupita added.
MTN has a presence in 17 African countries, including Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia.