Industry body the South African Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba) has acknowledged the announcement by government of a task team to make recommendations on vaccination mandates for specific activities and locations.
The decision on vaccine mandates, like all Covid-19 responses implemented under the National Disaster Management Act thus far, are the preserve of the government, the organisation says.
However, it calls on government to move expeditiously on the matter and provide policy clarity and a legal framework for implementation.
“We believe South Africa can ill-afford to plunge thousands more people into unemployment by locking down the domestic economy again, on the back of the unjustified travel restrictions imposed on South Africa and neighbouring countries following the discovery of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron.
“Vaccines have proven to definitively provide the best protection available against Covid-19, in addition to the wearing of masks, sanitising and social distancing.
“The full mRNA vaccination of two doses against Covid-19 is proven to be 89% effective in preventing hospitalisations related to the disease,” Salba states.
It notes that companies and organisations within the alcohol supply and value chain continue to encourage and support the vaccination of their employees and communities.
“If we do not ramp up the vaccine programme and [end] economic restrictions, the South African economy will suffer further losses and unemployment will rise exponentially.
“The industry is committed to support the efforts of the public and private health sectors and comply with all government public health measures designed to prevent, manage and treat infections of Covid-19,” Salba notes.