Apart from vaccinating the frontline workers involved in the COVID-19 response in the country, the vaccination of people against the virus in the private sector organizations is also of importance as it will enable business continuity and investment generation, especially at a time when the country’s economy is in need of a boost.
The Executive Director of the Business Council of Papua New Guinea (BCPNG) Mr. Douveri Henao, said corporate organizations that interact with people on a daily basis, the food industry or those that have high level intensive 24 hours operations, will have to ensure all their employees are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Before the vaccines arrived in country, these organizations operated under a bubble, which strictly enforces measures to prevent or contain the transmission of the virus. This was evident in major mining and petroleum companies that focused of ensuring that business continues.
“The bubble is deliberately designed to ensure that community transmission doesn’t disrupt the value chain, and when the vaccines became available it complemented strengthening the bubble. So, basically what that means is that more employees get vaccinated it strengthens the bubble.”
“The larger question is this, does the non-vaccination impede on working for companies? The answer to that lies in the employment environment that they (employees) are in. In a 24 hour operation and the existence of that bubble, there are businesses that would be encouraging vaccinations of those employees that are in that bubble. That again is to ensure the value chain is not disrupted,” said Mr. Henao.
He added that the availability of the vaccine now increases the chances to continue business without disruptions brought about by COVID-19. This then allows confidence in opening up the market and interacting domestically and internationally.
The Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs (PNG INA) Director Mr. Paul Barker, also made similar remarks saying that some organizations are able to implement certain rules to ensure all employees get vaccinated against COVID-19. That all depends on the nature of that organization.
“They are not telling people that they have to have the vaccination, but they are saying if you want to do certain jobs, you’re going to have to be vaccinated.”
“You can’t really force people to get vaccinated, but employers can say certain functions require people that are vaccinated and obviously if you don’t want to be vaccinated, then you are going to have to either shift roles or even review if that’s the work you want to do.”
“Companies and government institutions have some rights to require this. It’s not compulsory for people but employers can specify certain conditions for certain jobs.”