Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore says that the group’s mandatory vaccination policy won’t just be limited to employees but will extend to all of the group’s properties across South Africa.
In a letter published on social media, Gore said that Discovery would take steps to make all its buildings vaccinated-only zones.
“This means all internal and external parties will need to be vaccinated; or provide proof of their health status through a Covid-19 test or other means to gain entry to our buildings,” he said.
“As per the mandatory vaccination policy, there will be an appeals and exceptions process, as well as a reasonable accommodation as required in certain circumstances.”
Gore said that Discovery would also introduce a mandatory vaccination policy for the group’s South African-based employees from 1 January 2022.
He warned that South Africa is now facing the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, and over 30,000 lives can be saved if the country can vaccinate 60% of the population in the coming months.
“Based on the science and public health imperative, we see it as our responsibility to materially increase the country’s overall vaccination rate,” he said.
“We hold ourselves to the highest standard in this regard. This is crucial both ethically, given the scale of immune-compromised people in our country, and practically, given the degree of vaccine hesitancy currently being observed.”
Gore is hopeful that other organisations will follow suit and that the systemic impact on vaccination take-up is profound.
“Vaccine hesitancy remains an obstacle. This is despite the ample supply of vaccines now in place to vaccinate the majority of adult South Africans by the end of the year.
“We must therefore do everything possible as a country, as a community, and as corporate South Africa to vaccinate at pace and scale. In our own organisation, this means pushing for 100% vaccination take-up.”
Gore said that the group’s position has been legally vetted for its constitutionality and that the proof of vaccination is the single most important thing it can do to protect against Covid-19.