Vaccinations – Racing Authorities Need To Act

Only Gold Circle have taken the initiative

A vaccinated nation is what it will take to open the Cape Town Jazz Festival, the Macufe and other prominent music events in our calendar; and indeed a vaccinated nation is what it will take to open the Durban July and other similar events.

This was the message from SA Deputy President David Mabuza, who was a keynote speaker at the launch of a campaign called Return To Play: It’s In Your Hands, an initiative by the sports, arts and culture department, at FNB Stadium on Wednesday.

The campaign uses sports and the arts to mobilise the nation to get vaccinated against Covid-19 so that South Africa get back to normality and return to attending much-missed local events including sports tournaments and music festivals.

It has been over a year since sporting events as well as mass crowd activities in the arts and culture sector were banned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Sports and the arts are about audiences, and without audiences these sectors will not function and contribute meaningfully to the economy,” said Mabuza, who led the initiative in his capacity as the chair of the interministerial committee on Covid-19 vaccines.

He called upon artists, athletes and leaders in the sports and creative sectors to become flag bearers in promoting Covid-19 vaccinations, calling them the “embodiment of hope, resilience and force of unity to get all our communities behind our national vaccination programme”.

Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that government alone could not raise the required vaccination numbers to reach herd immunity.

South Africa’s target is to achieve at least 250 000 daily vaccinations and reach 38 million inoculated individuals by December.

Cape-based Groom Bangile Mavela wrote on the Sporting Post Facebook page: “We all know our jobs are demanding. Finding the time to go to the clinics to get our vaccinations is proving difficult. We don’t want to miss our work, our horses need us everyday.”

The Sporting Post approached the racing operators and the NHA for feedback and information as to what proactive steps had been taken to promote group herd vaccinations amongst the various sectors in racing.

Other than Gold Circle, no entity responded. The KZN racing operator’s management team, together with the SA National Trainers Association members, met with the Groom’s Shop Stewards a few weeks ago.

Gold Circle Racing Executive Raf Sheik told the Sporting Post that the Grooms were advised they could go to St Mary’s Hospital which is situated in close proximity to Summerveld to have their vaccines administered.

“Further to this we have an on-site clinic at Summerveld. Dr Baldeo who runs the clinic, met with the Covid vaccine team led by Mrs Dlamini last week. It has been agreed that the team can administer the Covid vaccine at the clinic.”

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