As of August 17, Minerals Council South Africa member companies have vaccinated 105 927 employees.
This represents around 22% of mining employees and contractors.
This figure includes 946 healthcare workers vaccinated under the Sisonke programme, but excludes many employees who have been vaccinated at private and public health facilities prior to the opening of workplace vaccination sites.
Currently, there are 45 mine-based vaccination sites that are operational, with a further 14 sites for which accreditation is still pending.
Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter on August 18 said the industry had set a target of getting 80% of employees and contractors vaccinated, if sufficient doses of the vaccine were made available to the industry.
“The Minerals Council and its members gave their full support to government-led vaccination from the outset, and have worked closely with the departments of Health and Mineral Resources and Energy, as well as Business for South Africa and organised labour in bringing vaccinations to employees.
“We know that a critical element of vaccine hesitancy is simply not being able to easily and conveniently get access to the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) system and to vaccination sites, as well as having sufficient confidence in the efficacy and safety of vaccines.”
Baxter enthused that, by taking vaccines directly to employees, with the support of trusted partners in organised labour, the mining industry directly addresses these concerns.
One of the council’s smaller member companies has already reported an 83% vaccination uptake, with some of the larger companies heading towards 50%, as a result of this.
The Minerals Council also welcomed the recent announcement by the Department of Health that workplace sites may now vaccinate employee dependants and community members who are 35 years and older.
Companies are currently looking at how to implement this outreach programme, either on mine sites or at nearby facilities.