In a move that is the sign of our times, Sun International has announced that it will be turning its flagship property, Sun City into a first-of-its-kind vaccination facility. The site will be dedicated to vaccinating South Africans from the hospitality industry in the area of the resort, and has already started operations.
Sun City was visited by the country’s Department of Health to ensure that it could take on the project successfully and safely. It has been given permission to operate as a vaccination facility until the end of this year. However, Sun International believes that the campaign will achieve its goal and it will complete the programme within two months.
Sun International plans to vaccinate a total of 7,500 people who work in South Africa’s hospitality and casino industries. The programme will take place over three phases. Sun City’s Convention Center has been turned into the vaccine center. The Superbowl is now the vaccination, discharge and observation areas of the project.
Sun City staff and service providers will be the first to receive the jab in phase 1. Sun International has committed to vaccinating some 1,000 staff members over the age of 50. Staff in lower age groups will then be attended to.
At the second stage, all family members of Sun City staff who are eligible for the vaccine will receive a shot. The third and final stage of the campaign will bring in all eligible people who work in the Moses Kotane District in the hospitality industry.
According to Sun International, all staff members who have medical aid will see the cost of the COVID-19 vaccination deducted from their funds. In the case of non-medical aid members, their vaccines will be covered by the Department of Health.
Medical staff will be on hand throughout the campaign to help people if they require assistance or if they suffer an allergic reaction to the jab, although this is not an expected reaction. If necessary, patients will be transferred to local hospitals.
While the thought of rolling out such a large-scale campaign of such national importance may appear daunting, Sun City executives don’t seem fazed by the idea. The General Manager of the casino, Brett Hoppe said: “Sun City is used to hosting events of the size and magnitude of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, so we are confident that the preparations for our vaccination site will be seamless.”
The MEC for North West Tourism, Keneetswe Mosenogi said that the vaccination drive would help the casino industry reopen.
“We can go back to normal and everybody can have the confidence that when you interact as a tourist you'll be interacting with a vaccinated person... I think this is going to be a lifeline for all of us,” said Mosenogi.
“Before we travel we must vaccinate, and at least there's some form of confidence that as a traveler, you have been vaccinated and when you visit Sun City or establishment around Sun City you'll be comforted that at least also those have been vaccinated.”