Minister Blade Nzimande made the announcement at the weekend, and said that some institutions had already started with the vaccination of staff on Saturday. File picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Minister Blade Nzimande made the announcement at the weekend, and said that some institutions had already started with the vaccination of staff on Saturday. File picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Vaccination of tertiary education staff set to begin

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Jul 26, 2021

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Cape Town - Staff at tertiary institutions across the country will be vaccinated against Covid-19 this week.

Even though communities had been using tertiary sites as vaccination centres, Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande said those sites would now be used to vaccinate staff.

Nzimande made the announcement at the weekend, and said that some institutions had already started with the vaccination of staff on Saturday.

He said those institutions included the False Bay TVET College at a site in Woodstock, South West Gauteng TVET College at a site in Roodepoort, Tshwane North TVET College at a site in Centurion, and the University of Johannesburg at a site in Midrand.

"I say formal because in several respects, our sector has already undertaken important work to support the national vaccination drive and protect individuals within our sector who are at the highest risk of Covid-19," said Nzimande.

Nzimande announced on July 8, that he had instructed Higher Health to create and co-ordinate a post-schooling education and training sector (PSET) vaccination strategy and roll-out plan aligned with and supporting the Department of Health’s phased national strategy.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said that detailed plans were still being worked out, but they anticipated that UCT staff members who were aged 35 years or older might be able to receive vaccinations as early as this week.

Phakeng said they were waiting on details to be finalised by Higher Health and would keep their staff informed as those details were confirmed.

SA Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union (Saptu) general secretary, advocate Ben van der Walt, said even though higher education institutions continued with classes online, face-to-face learning was invaluable, and he was glad that their members would now have more protection against the devastating coronavirus.

Van der Walt said the academic staff, as well as support staff at tertiary institutions, delivered a crucial service to the future of South Africa.

"We are impressed by the planning that went into the vaccination plan for the PSET sector. We are hopeful that the implementation will also proceed without any major disruptions," he said.

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