200,000 people vaccinated in mining industry, as Covid-19 pushback continues

23 September 2021 - 13:58
By Kgaugelo Masweneng
The mining industry in SA has set a target of achieving 80% vaccination in the coming weeks.
File photo.
Image: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS The mining industry in SA has set a target of achieving 80% vaccination in the coming weeks. File photo.

Minerals Council SA says it has reached a milestone of 200,000 employees and service providers vaccinated against Covid-19.

Roger Baxter, Minerals Council SA CEO, said a total of 203,007 people have been immunised — about 45% of their workforce — with 49% now fully vaccinated.

Baxter said the support from unions such as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) , the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity, and Uasa played a major role in helping reach this target.

“As an industry, we have set ourselves a target of achieving 80% vaccination in the coming weeks. With some companies already reporting between 70% and 80% vaccination levels at some sites, we feel that this is absolutely attainable.”

Companies have started to expand their programmes, to vaccinate employees’ dependants and community members too, either at company sites or by supporting neighbouring facilities, Baxter said.

The industry registered 52 workplace sites with the Department of Health’s workplace vaccination programme, in addition to outreach and temporary facilities.

Companies that have fewer than 4,000 employees also teamed up with private companies and provincial departments of health to offer on-mine vaccination, “while others have been served by a number of larger companies that have availed their facilities”. 

Baxter said while they are striving to vaccinate as many employees and community members as possible, to reduce transmission of Covid-19 and prevent serious illness and death, “we know that we need to continue to be vigilant and continue to practise all the non-medical interventions we have developed since the start of the pandemic”.

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