The Minerals Council South Africa and several labour unions reiterate their support for South Africa’s national vaccination programme, urging all industry employees to choose to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity to do so.
The labour unions include the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and Uasa.
The parties support the national #IChooseVacciNation campaign, noting that vaccination is voluntary and that no employee will be coerced into getting vaccinate or discriminated against if they do not get vaccinated.
The mining industry’s vaccination programme is being undertaken under the Department of Health’s (DoH’s) occupational health site programme, through which 14 primary sites and 18 permanent and temporary outreach sites are currently operational.
Through the mining industry’s endeavours, about 34 000 employees and contractors have been vaccinated to date. This includes healthcare workers vaccinated under the Sisonke programme.
In addition, a further 15 primary sites and five permanent and temporary outreach sites have received the requisite permits from the DoH and are expecting to be operational in the next two weeks.
A further 27 primary sites have applied for registration.
The Minerals Council states that the mining industry’s vaccination process is fully aligned with national priorities – that is, vaccinations currently being open to anyone older than 35.
The only difference between the mining industry’s vaccination programme and that of the DoH, is mining companies’ ability to bulk upload employee information onto the national Electronic Vaccine Data System, and to schedule appointments at mine-based sites.
The Minerals Council has confirmed the industry’s desire to support the vaccination of employee dependants and community members, either through industry vaccination centres or in-kind support, and discussions with the DoH on how this can be achieved are continuing.
The council states that it continues to collaborate with unions in running communications and educational campaigns to encourage employees to register, and to assist their family and community members to get vaccinated.