Activist threatens lawsuit against NGOs over forceful COVID-19 jabs

Activist threatens lawsuit against NGOs over forceful  COVID-19 jabs
Bol Deng Bol, Executive Director, INTREPID South Sudan (photo credit: courtesy)

The Executive Director of INTREPID South Sudan and civil rights activist, Bol Deng Bol, has threatened to sue non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Jonglei State over mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.

In an interview with The City Review yesterday, Bol said it was not right for the NGOs to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for their employees without life insurance.

He said some people have weak immune systems and it may be risky for their lives to take the jab.

Bol threatened that if the exercise continued, his organizations would have no choice but to sue the organizations.

“Some people’s body systems react differently, others even react fatally. If these reports continue, we (INTREPID South Sudan) will be forced to file a lawsuit or a petition against the insisting NGO (s) in question,” Bol said.

Ultimatums issued

The activist said the employees were being forced to choose whether to take the vaccine or lose their jobs, an ultimatum that violated their rights.

“We have received reports that some international NGOs in Jonglei State are coercing their staff to get vaccinated. They are being conditioned to either take the jab or lose their jobs; this is not right, ” he said.

He said that it should not be forceful because all the vaccines are in the trial stages; thus, the government and the private sector should only expect standard operating procedures to be implemented by the employees as the decision to take the jab remains personal.

 “These organisations better quash this policy.” “We all know that all the vaccines are still in the trial phases, meaning that such companies (aren’t) subject to the liability aspect in an unlikely situation,” Bol added.

“Because of this and more, all the available vaccines are voluntary, and the government and the private sector are anticipated to strictly apply SOPs and leave the rest of the decisions to an individual’s conscience.”

Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19 Incident Manager in South Sudan, Sacha Bootsma, revealed that South Sudan had seen an increase in COVID-19 vaccination.

She stated that 87,531,000 people had been vaccinated with Johnson and Johnson, including women, who account for 41% of all vaccinations.

Uptake increasing

“Healthcare workers are now approaching 50 per cent of all health workers who are fully vaccinated. Also, the elderly and people with underlying conditions are being targeted for the vaccination, ” Bootsma said.

She said that the increase had come following the vaccination campaign conducted by health workers, especially for those with health complications, the elderly, worship places, and other public places.

 “We now have 120,587 people that are fully vaccinated in South Sudan, and that is now 0.88 per cent or almost 0.9 per cent of the total population,” she said.

 “I know this is still very low, but remember from the previous weeks… it is really a steady increase and we are also very happy to see the number of females that are coming for vaccination steadily increasing.”.

The vaccination across the country has been affected by floods, with others fearing the risks of side effects rumoured to be associated with the vaccine. The health facilities reported to have been supporting vaccination are approximately 160 out of 250 in the 53 counties in the country.

Reuters reported that South Africa has raised the alarm that they are being punished for discovering the new COVID-19 variant called Omicron. Omicron surfaced in South Africa and was reported to WHO on November 24, 2021.

The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised the concern after discovering the action of most of the countries by restricting travel from South Africa.

The latest evidence has suggested that Omicron has a “higher re-infection risk,” and the World Health Organization on Friday last week said the new variant was “of concern.”

Cases of Omicron have been detected in Europe, with two cases in the UK, two cases in Germany, one case in Belgium, one case in Italy, and a suspected case in the Czech Republic.

Cases have also been reported in Botswana, Hong Kong, and Israel. Travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, and Eswatini have so far been barred from entering the UK unless they are the UK or Irish nationals or UK residents, reports indicate.