Factory workers’ vaccination commences

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Bereng Mpaki

THE Covid-19 vaccination campaign for textile factory workers kicked off last Thursday at Eclat Factory at the Thetsane industrial area, in Maseru.

The campaign is part of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme launched in March 2021 by King Letsie III at Scott Hospital, in Morija.

Lesotho is currently experiencing the third wave of the pandemic which has to date claimed 399 lives while over 14 000 cases have so far been recorded.

Labour and Employment Ministry spokesperson, ‘Mamolise Falatsa, told the Lesotho Times this week that factories in the Thetsane and Tikoe industrial areas will be served by the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) clinic starting next Monday. The roll out is expected to take two weeks.

Schedules for workers in other industrial areas like Maputsoe will be revealed in due course.

“Vaccination for factory workers in Maseru started last Thursday with employees at Eclat factory and is scheduled to be rolled out to other factories on 23 August,” Ms Falatsa said.

“Workers at the Thetsane and Tikoe industrial areas will be serviced by the Lesotho Defence Force clinic as they fall under its catchment.”

She said the vaccination in the industry is crucial as it will help to stabilise production which has suffered due to the absenteeism of infected workers. The industry, currently employees about 40 000 workers.

Textile is one of the sectors hardest hit by Covid-19 resulting in some factories laying off thousands of workers. Nien Hsing group of factories has to date retrenched a total of 4000 workers in the last year due to a slump in orders and selling prices as well as an increase in the prices of inputs since last year.

The National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) in June this year identified the sector as one of those with a high infection rate when the third wave kicked in.

“The vaccination will therefore, play crucial role in improving the factories production output as infection forced many workers to be absent from work.

“It will also play a significant role in reducing possible overcrowding of our health facilities since vaccines lower the chances for infected persons to be hospitalised.”

Ms Falatsa said while workers have the discretion to choose whether to vaccine or not, they should be aware that if they do not take the vaccine, they pose a risk of infecting others in the work place and ultimately affect production.

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