Many people have been asking me about our Rhino Africa Covid-19 vaccination policy and how we are managing the narrative within our business. That’s why I’ve taken the time to outline this in our blog, as well as why it’s important for other leaders to step up.
Rhino Africa Covid-19 Vaccination Policy
The fact that travel depends on vaccination and we at Rhino are dependent on travel means we have implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for all our Rhinos across both our tour operator and property businesses.
But of course, no matter is ever quite that simple! The fight against Covid-19, or should I say getting people to vaccinate both here in South Africa and across the globe, has largely been left to businesses and business leaders to facilitate and advocate. It’s a particularly daunting task, especially if data emerging from opinion polls and anecdotal evidence are accurate, with vaccine hesitancy at 40% here in South Africa.
There’s No Time for Hesitation
If the statistics are true, it poses a danger to our possibility of reaching immunity and preventing the virus from spreading and mutating. It will come down to businesses and business leaders, who will ultimately be judged by the quality of their decision-making and leadership if we are ever going to win this fight against Covid-19. Sadly, you can’t abdicate leadership simply because it creates internal conflict.
Much like planning your African safari, we at Rhino Africa believe that quality decisions are made by listening to the experts! Therefore, listening to expert virologists and epidemiologists is a good start. Their knowledge and experience far outweigh the University of Google Graduates (of which there are many). The sooner people realise what is really expected from them, the better!
Let Science Lead the Way
The science from these reputable experts is apparent. Vaccinations are our only hope in the fight against Covid-19. This includes both the management of Covid-19 and when it comes to severe illness and the mutation of variants. But more than that, it’s a simple gesture of humanity – principle, solidarity, courtesy and consideration showing that we are all on board in the fight against Covid-19 through being unselfish and considerate towards our fellow human beings.
As stated in our Company Credo and Culture, we believe that “Survival of our Crash comes first”. And, “Doing Good” is at the core of our DNA and our Purpose as a company. Doing Good by the people and wildlife of Africa in both the way we operate and serve. As such, this is sadly not a time for fence-sitting. And at Rhino Africa, we now insist that all Rhinos get the vaccine to play their part in the fight against Covid-19.
Vaccinations Are Our Only Hope
The choice is very simple. You’re either for vaccinations or against it. Those against it put everyone at risk of potentially more dangerous variants and longer lockdowns accompanying economic destruction and hardship. And this goes entirely against our Rhino operating beliefs and culture.
We are fully aware that available Covid-19 vaccines are not foolproof against contracting the virus. Still, the evidence is clear. Your chances are much lower of catching the virus and dramatically lower of dying or requiring hospitalisation.
We continue to read gut-wrenching articles about people worldwide who regret their decisions not to get the vaccine, based on misinformation, misplaced fears or just plain fake news. Therefore, businesses and business leaders must rise to this generational challenge of advocacy decisively.
Do it for Humanity, Not Yourself
Vaccination is sadly not a personal choice but a gesture to humanity! None of us wants to live like this forever. And the only medical solution that works is getting the Covid-19 vaccine. If we band together to do the right thing, we can hopefully reclaim some of that freedom we longed for over the past 18 months.
And, yes, we’ve never before been asked to take a vaccine for the sake of humanity. However, we’ve also never in the history of medicine seen society come together in such a united front to find a solution for a future-threatening epidemic. So while the vaccines are not yet foolproof to protect us from contracting Covid-19, the results are abundantly clear. Those who receive the vaccine and contract Covid-19 have a massively reduced chance of falling seriously ill or dying.
As I received my first jab last week. I barely felt the quick prick in the arm, but I was filled with an enormous sense of gratitude. I also felt sadness at the thought of the many people we all know that have already died unnecessarily from Covid-19.
As one of South Africa’s last polio survivors, it reminds me of how short humanity’s memory is too. So, take it from someone who knows. Polio never reached herd immunity, but a vaccine eradicated it. And over the past 24 years, 9 billion doses of the polio vaccine have been administered to eliminate the disease. At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, polio paralysed or killed over half a million people worldwide every year.
Let’s Do Our Bit for a Better Future for All
As Alan Paton once said, “There is only one way in which one can endure man’s inhumanity to man, and that is to try, in one’s own life, to exemplify man’s humanity to man.”
So let’s all do our bit for humanity and take the vaccine. But more than this, let’s all be advocates for friends, peers and colleagues. The decision not to vaccinate is not a decision without consequences. And we as humanity will all equally bear these consequences.