Mining industry urges over-60s to vaccinate

The Minerals Council has called for community involvement to support the aim of reaching herd immunity.

The government has officially announced that the second phase of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out will begin on 17 May, to extend its vaccination drive to people over the age of 60.

In line with this, the Minerals Council has urged employees over the age of 60 in the mining to register for the vaccine and to assist family and community members to do the same.

Mining companies that have indicated that they will support community vaccinations in line with national priorities.

According to the Minerals Council website, 456,438 people were employed in the mining sector in 2018 and for each person has up to nine indirect dependants.

While there are only around 6,000 industry employees over the age of 60, almost everyone will live with or know someone older than 60.

Getting vaccinated if you are over 60 is critically important given that people over the age of 60 are especially vulnerable and are three times more likely to be hospitalised and 15 times more likely to die due to complications related to Covid-19 than people under the age of 40, according to a statement released by the organisation.

Thuthula Balfour, head: health at the Minerals Council, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc the world over. Many people feel disempowered as their lives and livelihoods have been affected and, in some instances, forever changed.

“As the mining industry, we have set our sights high. We have achieved a 90 percent TB screening rate in the past and we will do our best to vaccinate as many people for Covid-19 as possible to achieve similar rates. It is an ambitious target, but would contribute significantly to better immunity in mining communities across the country,” she added.

Vaccinations will be administered free of charge to all citizens, with medical aids expected to cover the cost of around seven million members and the state absorbing the balance.