Discovery is pushing for remaining 500 unvaxxed staff to ‘cross the finish line’

Afternoon Drive host John Maytham chats with Dr Ron Whelan, leader of Discovery’s Covid-19 task force.

  • Only 1 Month Left Before Discovery Enters Mandatory Vaccination Policy
  • Discovery was one of the first large South African companies to announce a mandatory jab order in September
  • Since then, the staff vaccination rate has increased from 22% to 94%
  • Time is running out for more than 500 employees who have yet to receive the jab

Discovery Group offices in Sandton. Image: Abigail Javier / EWN

Discovery says he still has hopes that other unvaccinated workers at the company could get bitten by Jan. 1, 2022.

In September, Discovery announced that it would be implementing a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy for employees in South Africa in the New Year.

At the time, only 22% of its workforce had been vaccinated. Three months later, the staff vaccination rate jumped to 94%.

Dr Ron Whelan, leader of Discovery’s Covid-19 task force, said about 500 out of 10,500 employees remain unvaccinated.

Some have promised to get stung, but many refuse to do so.

RELATED: 94% of Discovery Staff So Far Vaccinated Thanks to Mandatory Policy – Adrian Gore

Dr Whelan, who is also commercial director of Discovery Health, said the company has not abandoned the remaining group of unvaccinated workers.

“We’re going to do everything we can to get everyone to cross the finish line,” he told CapeTalk.

RELATED: “A Moral Obligation”: Discovery Employees Must Be Vaccinated From January 1

Dr Whelan says the vaccination was in part influenced by the age groups who became eligible for vaccination in September and October.

He says the company has dealt with an enthusiastic group of employees eager to vaccinate, a more indifferent group who have been “vaccine apathetic” and an anxious group described as “vaccine hesitant.”

We vaccinated 2,200 people in September. To date, we are 9,900 people vaccinated. So we have done 7,200 vaccinations in the last three months. This was the rise in power.

Dr Ron Whelan, COVID-19 Task Force Leader – Discovery South Africa

We still have about 500 people outstanding.

Dr Ron Whelan, COVID-19 Task Force Leader – Discovery South Africa

Different age groups opened up during the months of September and October … It was part of the rise … A lot of people went there voluntarily. In fact, most of our staff were quite anxious to get the shot and get the shot quickly.

Dr Ron Whelan, COVID-19 Task Force Leader – Discovery South Africa

We allowed access to vaccinations, we had mobile sites, we had our Discovery vaccination sites accessible to our staff.

Dr Ron Whelan, COVID-19 Task Force Leader – Discovery South Africa

We had a lot of one-on-one discussions with the staff, just to understand their concerns, to share specific information … and absolutely [brought in their families]… we have recognized that the family is an integral part of this particular point.

Dr Ron Whelan, COVID-19 Task Force Leader – Discovery South Africa


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