Miners wait to register for their Covid-19 vaccine at Anglo American Platinum's Tumela mine in Amandelbult, Limpopo, in this August 12 2021 file photo. Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS
Miners wait to register for their Covid-19 vaccine at Anglo American Platinum's Tumela mine in Amandelbult, Limpopo, in this August 12 2021 file photo. Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS

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

CEO Roger Baxter said 203,007 people have been immunised, or about 45% of the workforce in the mining industry.

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 also vaccinate employees’ dependents and community members,  either at company sites or by supporting neighbouring facilities, Baxter said.

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

Companies that have fewer than 4,000 employees also teamed up with private firms and provincial health departments 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 in order to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 and prevent serious illness or 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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