Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SHARON SERETLO
Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SHARON SERETLO

Minerals Council SA has hailed the mining industry’s reaching more than 300,000 full and partially vaccinated employees.

The industry body has urged all those in mining to ensure they are immunised against Covid-19 in anticipation of a fourth wave in SA.

“With 300,779 vaccinations, more than two thirds of the industry’s 450,000 employees and contractors are fully (80%) and partially (20%) vaccinated as the sector moves steadily towards its target of an 80% vaccination level,” the council said in a statement on Wednesday. According to the council’s figures, that amounts to an increase of more than 100,000 in two months.

“We have done well in reaching this significant milestone, but we still have some way to go to reach the target we set for ourselves,” said Minerals Council SA head of health Dr Thuthula Balfour.

“It is more important than ever for people to be vaccinated as there are growing concerns that the fourth wave of infections is not far off,” she added. 

Certain mining companies, which were not named in the release, have reportedly ensured the vaccination of more than 80% of their workers against the pandemic. 

According to council, some of its members have improved vaccination rates though innovations such as “bringing vaccines to the shaft” and incentives including “giving the day off for those vaccinated on that day”. 

The council’s CEO, Roger Baxter, said the industry began preparations for the vaccine rollout in February, drawing on the sector’s experience in treating TB and HIV/Aids. 

“There are now 75 sites used by mining companies to vaccinate employees, their dependants and community members,” read the statement.

The council credited company leaders and unions in advocating for vaccination. Workers’ movements praised included Amcu, NUM and Solidarity.

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