Over 100 000 mineworkers vaccinated, govt gives green light for community rollout

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Mining group Sibanye-Stillwater is one of the companies conducting workplace Covid-19 vaccinations to employees.  (Getty Images)
Mining group Sibanye-Stillwater is one of the companies conducting workplace Covid-19 vaccinations to employees. (Getty Images)

The mining sector has vaccinated 105 927 employees at its workplace site, the Minerals Council of South Africa said on Wednesday. 

As South Africa faces the third wave of Covid-19, there are 45 mine-based vaccination sites across the country, with a further 14 awaiting accreditation from health authorities. 

The mining industry, like some of SA's other major employers, has been hard hit by the virus, with 639 deaths recorded so far since its outbreak on local shores last year, according to data provided by the industry body. 

Roger Baxter, CEO of the Minerals Council, hailed the workplace programmes as efficient and convenient, saying employees were able to "access credible information that supports their free choice to be vaccinated". 

"One of our smaller member companies has already reported an 83% vaccination uptake, with some of the larger companies heading towards 50%," said Baxter.

Around 11% of those who have opted for a jab are fully vaccinated - that is, have either received a single dose vaccine or have received both doses of a two-dose vaccine.

On 24 May, Impala Platinum became the first to begin vaccinating employees, and the Department of Health has since given the green light to workplace sites to begin vaccinating employee dependants and community members aged 35 years and up.

"Companies are currently looking at how to implement this outreach programme, either on mine sites or at nearby facilities," said Baxter.

The mining industry employs over 450 000 workers, and there are currently 1 080 active cases of the virus among employees.

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