RIYADH: The days of working from home may be numbered following a recent government decision making coronavirus vaccines mandatory for employees, with people telling Arab News that the move would curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
While some companies are still allowing staff to work from home, others are formulating plans in response to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development announcing on Friday that jabs would be mandatory for in-person attendance at workplaces in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
The ministry will clarify the procedures and date for implementing the decision, which is part of the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
People said the vaccine policy would make the workplace safer.
“I know that a lot of people do not want to take it or do not believe in the safety of the vaccine,” Dr. Mona Al-Munajjed, a writer and adviser on social issues, told Arab News. “However, the rate of people infected is higher and the vaccine is the only way to contain the spread of coronavirus and put fatalities under check. The decision by the ministry is to keep us safe by curbing the spread of COVID-19. The decision is for the safety of employees. In some offices there are too many employees and mixing can cause infection. This is why it is a must to take a vaccine.”
Dr. Osama Ghanem Al-Obaidy, an adviser and law professor at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh, said the decision would facilitate herd immunity and reduce the number of cases. It would also expedite the return of economic activities in the tourism and entertainment sectors, as well as others, to their pre-pandemic levels, he added.
“Such recovery will enhance economic activities that require social interaction and not distancing in order for life to go back to normal,” he told Arab News.
“We all have seen the suffering in many developed and advanced countries such as the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and lately India in their fight against this pandemic in terms of deaths, the number of infected cases as well as the economic and social toll inflicted on them, while Saudi Arabia managed with flying colors in organizing vaccination centers and services that run smoothly and efficiently which many other countries failed to do. This achievement by the Kingdom is due to the care and hard work of its leadership to protect the health of its citizens and residents.”
Saudi Arabia’s daily case count at the height of the pandemic was nearly 5,000. More than 425,000 people have been infected since the beginning of the pandemic in March, around 1.2 percent of the Kingdom’s 34.8 million population.
Dr. Manzer H. Siddiqui is from India and works as an associate professor at King Saud University. He said mandatory vaccinations for the workplace were an effective and efficient way to curb the spread of COVID-19, and that the ministry’s decision would save lives and ensure public safety.
• Sectors where working from home is not an option will benefit from the ministry’s decision, especially those where people are in close proximity to one another due to the nature of their job.
• Some companies are still allowing staff to work from home, others are formulating plans in response to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development announcing on Friday that jabs would be mandatory for in-person attendance at workplaces in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
“Moreover, it will also be crucial to keep all sectors working properly as well as reducing psychological fear and anxiety,” he told Arab News.
Sectors where working from home is not an option will benefit from the ministry’s decision, especially those where people are in close proximity to one another due to the nature of their job.
Waqas Hussain is a Pakistani who is working on the Riyadh Metro project. He said that mandatory vaccines would ensure people’s personal safety and that of their families as well.
“The nature of my work is hectic and busy, with many people coming and going,” he told Arab News. “One can only do so much to keep surfaces clean, wash up and keep the mask on, but it’s a daily struggle especially with the summer near and high temperatures during the day. Many still follow the safety rules but mistakes can happen and that is not something I can afford, especially with my family involved in my daily life. It’s hard to change workplace behavior but you can see that everyone is on board and vaccines are one step closer to returning back to our normal lives safely. My family is safer because of it and it’s something to appreciate and be thankful for.”