The COVID-19 pandemic has brought some of the biggest strains, stress and squeeze to the workplace. Thousands of workers died. Many of the dead from the global workforce were frontline workers. As at the third week of October 2021, more than 180,000 health workers world over had lost their lives to COVID-19. The high rate of fatality is unfortunate but also highlights the sacrifice that workers have made in combating and containing this deadly virus. Many more workers have their jobs and means of livelihood to COVID-19.
The biggest lesson of the pandemic is that amidst the worst crisis, the human race can rise to the challenge with great resourcefulness and resilience. Apart from accelerated scientific efforts at understanding the epidemiology of the virus, science has raised the bar a little higher with the breakthrough discovery of vaccine for COVID-19 which has helped reduce death rate and hospital admissions.
A study conducted by the United States Centre for Disease Control at the end of May 2021 shows that there was about 63% drop in hospital visitations after the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine. There was also a 63% drop in hospital admissions post vaccination and 66% drop in mortality for those aged 18 – 49 after the vaccination.
I understand some people prefer to view COVID-19 vaccination with caution. Yes, it is important to proceed on issues of public health with great caution. Yet, it would be foolhardy to elevate caution above scientific evidence and facts from public health records.
The truth is that despite being imperfect, the COVID-19 Vaccine has given all of us a better chance of fighting the virus and staying alive. I urge workers all over the world to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccines and keep themselves, their families and their colleagues at work safe and free from the morbid threats of the corona pandemic.
We urge government and other employers of labour to make special arrangement for workers to access the vaccine at the workplace.
We urge that the tool of persuasion and conviction be used rather than force to get workers and the general populace to take the vaccine.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni
President, Nigeria Labour Congress and International Trade Union Confederation
26th October 2021