THE Institute of Risk Management South Africa (Irmsa) has welcomed the announcement of a South African mandatory vaccination task team.
The institute was responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s latest address to the country in which he hinted at the topic of mandatory vaccinations.
“The task team will report to the inter-ministerial committee on vaccination chaired by the Deputy President, which will make recommendations to Cabinet on a fair and sustainable approach to vaccine mandates," he said.
Ramaphosa said the government is aware that the introduction of such measures is a difficult and complex issue, but if it did not address this seriously and as a matter of urgency, there will continue to be those vulnerable to new variants and we will continue to suffer new waves of infection.
Irmsa’s CEO Pat Semenya believes the laudable discovery by South African scientists of a new variant coupled with the impending arrival of a fourth Covid-19 wave in December has heightened South Africa’s risk climate considerably.
“In order to save lives and to respond to the impact of further strict lockdown on the economy we must pick up the pace of vaccine dispensing. While Irmsa acknowledges that mandatory vaccinations can be a controversial and even divisive issue, any recommendations made by the task team need to be studied and carefully considered,” Semenya said.
She said it is vital that its work is done unhampered and speedily.
Semenya said the pending arrival of a fourth wave of the pandemic is of equal concern and companies need once again to re-evaluate their risk planning.
This, she said, means reinforcing internal health protocols at the workplace and checking for weak points in supply chains.
“We still have weeks of work and productivity ahead of us before we break for the Christmas period. Irmsa acknowledges that people are exhausted after a difficult and tumultuous year but dropping one’s guard now could have catastrophic consequences for lives and the economy,” she said.
Semenya also urges responsible distribution of information regarding the new variant, saying media reports from abroad, suggesting South Africa was the source of the new strain, were irresponsible and unhelpful.
“Irmsa is also concerned about the potential negative impact on the business and leisure and tourism and hospitality sector, during our traditional high season. It’s only by observing current lockdown level 1 regulations will the country be able to manage the risk,” Semenya said.