Covid-19: Business willing to vaccinate employees

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) said 76 percent of local companies are willing to cover their employees and their immediate families with the coronavirus vaccines to be brought into the country following a partnership between the government and the private sector.

This comes as business is ramping up efforts to help procure the much-needed vaccines for the country under a multi-sectoral initiative, which aims to protect both workers and the broader local community. The CZI said most of its members under the Business Preparedness Prevention and Response Initiative (BPPRI) — a business vaccination initiative — were keen to ensure that their employees were vaccinated and were playing a coordination role, with the initiative receiving technical backstopping from CIMAS medical aid.

“Companies are willing to cover employees and their immediate family according to the survey. 76 percent of the surveyed companies highlighted that they will cover employees and their immediate families, and 24 percent will only cover employees and their spouses,” said the CZI.

BPPRI brings together all major players in local commerce and industry. Among the big business organisations that have thrown their weight behind the initiative are CZI, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe.

“The survey shows that 70 percent of the companies that responded are committed to a private sector collective contribution of vaccines to the national effort, 21 percent indicated they would not be able to commit and nine percent are still considering whether to commit or not,” said the CZI.

The CZI said the motivation to bring the vaccine was to assist the government, thereby reducing the burden on the State as well as to enable business to quickly and safely return to usual operations through resumption of normal economic activities. To actively participate in the vaccination programme, business membership organisations have agreed to collect data that would establish the number of companies willing and able to participate in the private sector vaccination programme.

Last month, CZI president Henry Ruzvidzo said the corporate sector was mobilising funds to help bring in vaccines. “There are financial commitments from various firms in this regard. What is left is for the government to agree on the type of vaccine, the time-frame on when the vaccine is expected in the country, when the procurement will begin and the roll-out programme. “The vaccines give us reason for optimism as repeated cycles of lockdowns take a heavy toll on the viability of business,” he said.

The government has said its intention is to acquire 1,8 million doses of vaccines from Beijing to “save lives first and livelihoods next”.

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