Education sector’s Covid-19 vaccination drive launches nationwide
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The vaccination roll-out of teachers and education sector staff has kicked off countrywide.
The Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal launched their vaccination programmes on Wednesday, in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH).
In the Western Cape, 50 officials in the province’s education department have been vaccinated. This includes educators, non-teaching staff and union members.
Western Cape Education Department (WCED) head of department (HOD) Brent Walters said at least 75% teachers and non-teaching staff had indicated interest in receiving the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination. The WCED aims to vaccinate at least 55 200 staffers before the start of the third term.
At least 29 vaccination sites have been identified by the WCED and schools have already been notified about the various time slots available, and principals have also been briefed by the DOH on the various procedures in getting the vaccination.
As of Monday, the number of active cases at WCED schools was 249 school staff, 0.6% and 558 pupils, 0.05%.
The WCED said education sector workers were given until July 8 to vaccinate and anyone who goes after the deadline date would have to wait for the countrywide vaccination roll-out plan which is focused on ages.
The first teacher to be vaccinated in the Western Cape was Eugenia Paulo-Goagoses, from Masiphatisane Primary School in the West Coast. She was vaccinated at the vaccination launch held at the Metro Emergency Medical Service in Pinelands.
The first teacher vaccinated in Western Cape, Eugenia Paulo-Goagoses of Masiphathisane Primary School, talks about the experience.
Video: Henk Kruger/African News Agency
Walters said: “As you know, there has been a discussion about the return of primary school learners in the third term and what vaccination will help us to do is to try and see if we can make that a reality.”
In KwaZulu-Natal, Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu together with Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane encouraged and thanked teachers for attending the vaccination launch held in KwaMashu.
Provincial education spokesperson said: “The Education MEC has thanked the government for at last recognising teachers as frontline workers so that they could get vaccinated. Teachers interact with many children at school who come from various homes.
“All is going on well so far with the programme, the teachers are also very excited.”
Meanwhile, Department of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga visited the Rabasotho Community Centre in Tembisa where the Gauteng vaccination programme was launched.
Minister Angie Motshekga says she is elated that this day has arrived where teachers can get vaccinated.#COVID19 #VaccineRollOutSA @ElijahMhlanga @ReginahMhaule @HubertMweli pic.twitter.com/neZpSv03gY— Dep. Basic Education (@DBE_SA) June 23, 2021
“Today, MECs are launching their campaigns and tomorrow unions are going to do site visits where they will see how things work,” she said.
Motshekga said that as of Thursday, unions will be playing a huge role in encouraging members to vaccinate within the set time period.