Standard Bank South Africa says it has introduced a Covid-19 vaccination policy, which requires all employees of the group who work from the premises to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The policy will be implemented in South Africa in the first instance and will come into effect on 4 April 2022 in South Africa.
This policy introduces the requirement for all employees who work on the group’s premises in South Africa to be vaccinated, but also allows for employees who have a valid reason for not being vaccinated to lodge a motivated objection to being vaccinated, it said.
“We will make every reasonable attempt to accommodate employees who have valid reasons for not being vaccinated,” the financial group stressed.
Sim Tshabalala, Standard Bank Group CEO, said: “Covid-19 vaccines have proven themselves globally. Large-scale, rigorous scientific studies have now shown conclusively – beyond any reasonable doubt – that the vaccines against Covid-19 approved by the World Health Organisation provide excellent protection against serious illness and death.
“These vaccines are more effective than the immunity people get from having survived Covid-19 itself. Importantly, the vaccines also reduce the chances of spreading Covid-19 to others by 40% to 60% – depending on the specific vaccine and variant – which means that getting vaccinated helps a great deal to protect the people you care about.”
The decision to adopt this approach has not been made lightly, the chief executive said.
The bank said it took advice from its risk teams, medical experts and social scientists, and have carefully weighed up the scientific data as gathered by the World Health Organisation, the South African National Department of Health, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and other leading African and international authorities.
Standard Bank said it has also taken legal advice to ensure that people’s rights to bodily integrity and freedom of religion, belief and opinion are respected. “We have also discussed the rationale for our decision with our recognised trade union in South Africa, SASBO.”
The bank said that requiring vaccination will help to reduce the burden on the health system, which means more capacity for people who are injured or sick from other causes – including Covid – to get better care.
There is a powerful macroeconomic rationale for vaccination, it said.
“The more people are vaccinated, the lower the risk of future ‘lockdowns’ and travel bans. As more people are vaccinated, business and investor confidence will undoubtedly also improve. Hence, getting vaccinated protects jobs and helps the economy to recover.”
“Vaccination isn’t just a personal matter or purely matter of operational efficiency. Vaccination helps our countries and our continent to recover faster from the pandemic. By getting vaccinated, we will contribute to driving Africa’s growth, which is the Group’s purpose.” said Tshabalala.