Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said that having the Covid-19 vaccination will not be compulsory in South Africa. But with just 53% of respondents to a recent poll saying they are willing to have the jab, some are asking whether it might be necessary to make the vaccination mandatory.
It's already clear that large sections of the South African public are reluctant to have the Covid-19 vaccine - but, in order to achieve herd immunity, around 40 million will need to be injected.
Is there a case for making the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory? The World Health Organisation has indicated that it's not in favour of the notion. But it's a question which has been debated in countries all over the world, as vaccine-hesitancy is by no means limited to South Africa.
Brazil's Supreme Court ruled in December 2020 that local governments could introduce measures for compulsory Covid-19 vaccination. What this means in practice is not that citizens can be held down and forcibly injected, but that they may be stripped of certain rights - like entering certain places, or receiving certain funds - if they do not comply with vaccination.
In most countries it is a basic medical...