News / Own Your Life

Eric Naki
Political Editor
2 minute read
21 Oct 2021
6:20 am

Mining sector joins government’s vaccination campaign

Eric Naki

The Minerals Council South Africa on Monday announced it was intensifying its participation in the vaccination drive to align itself with government’s efforts to achieve maximum national vaccination.

Photo for illustration: CAROLINE THIRION / AFP

The mining sector has taken the opportunity of the Vooma Vaccination Week this week to maximise its drive to vaccinate as many as possible in the sector to fight the spread of the Covid.

The Minerals Council South Africa on Monday announced it was intensifying its participation in the vaccination drive to align itself with government’s efforts to achieve maximum national vaccination.

The council joined the focused campaign as part of the Vooma Vaccination Week, which started on Monday and ends tomorrow.

Minerals Council chief executive Roger Baxter and the council’s head: health Dr Thuthula Balfour have expressed support for the drive “Vaccines can literally mean the difference between life and death.

For this reason, we and our members are supporting government’s Vooma vaccination campaign. We want as many of our employees and communities vaccinated as soon as possible in the interest of saving lives and livelihoods,” Baxter said.

“We are all working together with our trade union partners and government to get the vaccine process rolled out as quickly as possible.

“We believe this is a significant step in the right direction.”

Balfour, who has been at the centre of driving Mineral Council’s participation in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus in the mining sector, shared important information about the efficacy and safety of vaccines.

She said vaccines have come a long way since English physician Edward Jenna discovered a vaccine for smallpox in 1798.

The world had been fortunate that a range of various vaccines were found for the coronavirus and all of them had been found to be effective, particularly against severe illness and hospitalisation.

Even in instances where the vaccines differed in term of their efficacy, it was important that they all reduced severe illness, hospitalisation and death, which was vital to ensure that the health system was not overwhelmed with very sick people.

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“Everyone is truly encouraged to utilise the vaccines because they are quite effective,” Balfour said.

Baxter expressed gratitude to the 235 000, or 52%, of the total mining labour force that had already been vaccinated, saying as the management team, they were trying to lead by example, with 100% of managers having received their double doses of the vaccine.

Some members of the workforce were not vaccinated because they had contracted the virus and had to wait for a particular period of time to be inoculated.

More than 70 working vaccination sites operate in the mining sector and operated in collaboration with trade unions and the national health department.

“Why do we do this? In my view the only way that we are going to get out of this pandemic crisis as well as significant portion of our population is to be vaccinated against this Covid and, in my view, has to be more than 80%,” said Baxter.

ericn@citizen.co.za