'A day off work means a day with no income': DA MP calls for weekend vaccinations for business owners

08 July 2021 - 14:00
The DA's Geordin Hill-Lewis has called for the vaccination rollout to accommodate business owners. File image.
The DA's Geordin Hill-Lewis has called for the vaccination rollout to accommodate business owners. File image.
Image: Alaister Russell/Sunday Times

DA finance spokesperson Geordin Hill-Lewis has called for the extension of the vaccine rollout programme to weekends to accommodate business owners who can't afford to take a day off to get vaccinated.

“I am thinking mainly of small business owners — hairdressers, nail and beauty technicians, informal traders, tradesmen, and many others for whom a day off work means a day with no income,” he told TimeLIVE on Wednesday.

Under the amended Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in the Workplace Direction employees are entitled to paid time off to get the Covid-19 vaccine, but employers may require proof of the vaccination appointment. 

Rolling out the vaccination programmes to weekends, said Hill-Lewis, would also help speed up the inoculation process.

“The vaccine rollout has been far too slow. [On Tuesday] we did 170,000, which is a nice increase. But we need to do at least 300,000 a day, seven days a week, so we are still far from the target,” he said.

SA has so far vaccinated 3,819,730 and has a target of 40 million to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.

Hill-Lewis said the key to achieving this is speed.

“The longer we take to vaccinate 40 million South Africans, the longer we will have to live with Covid-19, all the terrible loss of loved ones, and the terrible lockdowns. The delay is measured in lives lost. 

“So we need to go as quickly as possible — nothing should be slowing us down. So it is frankly crazy that we are losing out on two whole days a week of vaccinating. It is literally crazy. Why would we do this? It doesn’t make any sense at all,” he said.


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