Posted 23 August 2021

Ford South Africa Supporting COVID-19 Vaccination Drive with Clinics Established at Both Manufacturing Plants

  • COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic was established at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria in June, now being extended to the Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth)
  • Supports Ford employees and on-site contractors with convenient Ford-funded vaccinations to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, to be expanded to Ford dealers and suppliers
  • Continues Ford’s partnership with the National Department of Health to address this crisis, which began with the manufacturing of face shields in April 2020, and an R2.5-million donation for the Occupational Health Surveillance System (OHSS) in March 2021

PRETORIA, South Africa, 06 August 2021 – Ford South Africa is making an important contribution to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic by having opened specialised Vaccination Clinics at both of its local manufacturing plants, with cooperation and approval from the National Department of Health (NDOH).

The clinic at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria opened in June 2021 and was the second workplace vaccination site to receive NDOH authorisation, giving employees and on-site contractors convenient access to the COVID-19 vaccinations in line with the government guidelines and age groups, regardless of their medical aid status.

To date, over 3 600 Pfizer vaccines have been administered at the Silverton Assembly Plant, with more than 1 200 employees and contractors have received their second doses. This project is now being rolled out to the Ford Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).

“The vaccination drive, and the establishment of the Vaccination Clinics at both of our local plants, follows extensive engagement with the National Department of Health which enabled us to assist government’s efforts in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic through the workplace vaccination program,” says Dhiren Vanmali who headed up Ford’s Government Affairs department before assuming a new role as Sales Operations Director in June 2021.

“We are proud to be playing an important role in reinforcing the South African government’s efforts to significantly ramp up its COVID-19 vaccinations, as an essential tool in fighting this pandemic that has impact our lives in so many ways,” Vanmali says.

“Our vaccination numbers are expected to increase significantly with the approval granted for the opening of the Vaccination Clinic at the Struandale Engine Plant, and the age groups now opened to 18-year-olds and above,” explains Ford’s occupational medical practitioner, Dr Herina Grobler.

“As the availability of the vaccine improves, we will see these numbers increase further as we extend our vaccinations to include our Ford dealers and suppliers too. We are also working closely with the NDOH to ultimately make the vaccination services available to dependents of employees as part of the community, to ensure that we maximise our reach in fighting this pandemic,” Dr Grobler says.

Ford South Africa’s relief measures during this unprecedented health crisis began in April 2020 during the Level 5 national lockdown, when it commenced production of protective face shields at the Silverton Assembly Plant to enhance the safety of frontline medical workers. Over 285 000 face shields were produced, the majority of which were donated to the NDOH along with numerous hospitals, clinics and humanitarian organisations to support their crucial work. Vehicles were loaned to several non-profit organisations, and Ford Fund grants were provided to equip communities with essential goods, including food parcels, sanitisers and face masks.

In preparation for the resumption of manufacturing operations, dedicated Flu Clinics were established at both of Ford’s manufacturing plants. The company’s committed team of nurses and health workers, headed by Dr Herina Grobler, worked closely with the NDOH in establishing protocols for the safe return of employees and contractors – including COVID-19 screening, effective handling of positive cases, and extensive training and awareness campaigns regarding COVID-19 symptoms and prevention measures.

“In March this year, we donated R2.5-million to the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH) to help fund the enhancement of the Occupational Health Surveillance System (OHSS), further reinforcing Ford’s commitment to the government’s crucial COVID-19 mitigation measures for the South African population,” Vanmali says.

The OHSS monitors workers in the public and private sectors, using data supplied by employers on COVID-19 infections in the workplace under the direction of the Department of Employment and Labour. The data helps to identify industries and occupational groups at risk of infection and analyses the impact on industries and occupational groups. The data is used to inform appropriate interventions – including policies, programs and resources.

Original article as supplied by Ford Dealerview.