Fruit industry to offer Covid vaccinations.
According to Agri Western Cape, Chief Executive, Jannie Strydom, the collaboration between public health and the private sector to provide vaccination sites is seen as a confirmation of the willingness of the agricultural sector to assist in the prevention and containment of the spread of the Covid virus. “We can only hope that this continuous gesture will influence decision makers to prioritise the sector for the vaccination roll-out,” Strydom said.
But, for one of Grabouw’s largest employers, apple and pear packers and processors, Two-a-Day, educating people about the benefits of the vaccination is paramount. According to Dimitri Jacobs, Director: Human Resources and also a Company Director of South Africa’s largest exporter of apples and pears, Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, Two-a-Day is seeing success with their campaign to communicate the positive benefits of being vaccinated.
“We are providing registered nurses to administer the vaccination and also having Dr Anthony Hess on standby in the event of any side effects,” Jacobs says, adding: “We even made a video of Dr Hess being vaccinated as he is a prominent figure in our community and, we hope, this will help convince people that being vaccinated is safe and beneficial to everyone’s health.” Jacobs says that conspiracy theories circulating around social media have left people frightened and confused. “We are currently vaccinating people in the age categories as stipulated by the Department of Health and we continue to offer this service, not only to our own staff members but also to people at Two-a-Day member farms and their families. We encourage eligible people to register and be vaccinated and are helping where we can to achieve this through regular communications on electronic billboards, WhatsApp groups and text-based systems.
“As the agricultural sector we are essential workers who have to provide food for the nation so we will welcome the opportunity to offer vaccinations to all our staff and not only those within the approved age bands. Offering on-site vaccinations also means that our staff don’t need to lose out on a day’s work while waiting in a queue at another location. While we are fully encouraging people to be vaccinated, it is good to know that the measures we put in place to protect our staff from Covid infection and transmission continue to work as there have been thankfully few cases in our area.”
Tru-Cape, Managing Director, Roelf Pienaar, says that they, too, are encouraging all eligible staff to receive the vaccination. “While we will continue with the precautions we have put in place to avoid transmissions, being vaccinated is currently the best defence against Covid-19 according to the Department of Health and we will continue to follow all their guidelines,” he ends.