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Vaccine hesitancy is of major concern to Bay business

2021-10-19

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Got the Jab: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber staff

- Image Credit: Leon Hugo

The Business Chamber is deeply concerned about the low rate of vaccination take-up in Nelson Mandela Bay and the impact this could have on economic activity during the December holiday period.

“Current estimates are that the fourth wave could affect our country from early December and if insufficient people are vaccinated, this is likely to place pressure on the hospitals and place limitations on economic activity,” says Denise van Huyssteen CEO of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.  “This could potentially be devastating to the tourism and hospitality sectors in particular, who have already suffered immensely since the onset of the pandemic.”

“We should be using this period to do everything possible to proactively accelerate the rate of vaccinations in order to achieve herd immunity.  We appeal to all stakeholders – including business, churches and civil society - to unite around the goal of providing the facts around vaccinations and making this as accessible as possible to all communities.”

She said that given the seriousness of the issue, the Chamber has been utilising its platforms to provide access to medical doctors and other experts to understand more about covid-19 and vaccinations.  “Beyond this we are leading by example with our Board fully vaccinated and more recently, all our employees.  As business leaders, we need to walk the talk and ensure that we are proactive in assisting our employees with their concerns and in ensuring that they have access to the facts.  Equally, important let’s all work together to save lives and get our economy going again!”

The Coega Development Corporation has been actively engaged in conducting vaccination campaigns since the beginning of the vaccination programme and has implemented operational measures for business continuity, including having its clinic becoming a Covid-19 public vaccination site servicing investors located in the Coega Special Economic Zone and surrounding communities, says Khwezi Tiya, CEO of the Coega Development Corporation. “This is in line with the CDC’s ongoing commitment to building healthy and safe communities in realisation of our vision - to be a leading catalyst for championing of the socio-economic development and contribute to the important national effort to defeat the Pandemic. Part of the realisation is that vaccination assists in managing productivity loss through illness and absenteeism from work, as well as sustaining livelihoods.”

Tiya said that the CDC’s business required global relationships in order to stimulate the economy. “A successful COVID-19 Vaccine rollout is essential for economic recovery and fully vaccinated employees and broader society act as enablers to economic activity.”

Reinforcing the importance of vaccinations, Angelo Swartz Divisional Managing Director of the Spar Group, said that while the economic impacts of the pandemic were likely to outlive the pandemic itself, there is hope. “Though South Africa was “slow out of the blocks” to start vaccinating our people, we have made a remarkable turnaround both in terms of our capacity to vaccinate and having an adequate supply of vaccines. We are now in the enviable position where those adults who want to be vaccinated can do so, conveniently and quickly. This has in turn, passed the responsibility over to us as citizens, both private and corporate. The scientific evidence is clear that the vaccines are effective at protecting us against severe illness and can be our way out of lockdowns and, more importantly, to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

“The power to bring this pandemic under control is now in the hands of each of us but, like everything that matters in society, can only be achieved when we all act in unison for the greater good. We can exit this artificial isolation if we all do our part and get vaccinated and what’s more, if we act quickly we can still be one of the first emerging markets to achieve the freedom that a high vaccination rate can bring and with that we can gain critical competitive advantage. We can recover and develop South Africa, together. It’s up to us,” emphasised Swartz.

 

Issued by:

Sibongile Dimbaza

Media and Publications Officer

0833718708

media@nmbbusinesschamber.co.za

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