Following the Department of Health’s announcement that 18-to-35-year-olds may register to get vaccinated, the Department of Higher Education has revealed its readiness plans in assisting all public and private institutions to vaccinate eligible staff and students.
The Higher Health Wellness and Development Centre of the Post-Schooling Education and Training sector (PSET) will all be working together to ensure that the vaccination roll-out runs smoothly.
The institutions are mounting efforts to vaccinate all its student population of over 2 million young people in the coming months.
“The Covid-19 vaccines registered in South Africa are safe and they work. These vaccines are incredibly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalisation and death and they also play a preventive role,” says Professor Ramneek Ahluwalia, the chief executive of Higher Health.
Higher Health has expressed its confidence in students and staff in the age group that they would take up the opportunity to get vaccinated.
“The PSET is a large, economically significant and socially influential sector. We are going to do our best to ensure the process is youth-friendly and to bring easy access to Covid-19, as well as correct and reliable information, to our students and staff. This will empower them to be valuable messengers and influencers who can promote vaccine confidence to overcome vaccine hesitancy and positively mobilise families, peers and communities.
“This is why since the start of the pandemic, we have said that in a young country on a young continent like ours, it is the youth that will determine the trajectory of the pandemic. By opting to be vaccinated in large numbers, our educated youth can stay healthy, protect those who are older, and help reduce the risk of mutations that produce new and possibly more dangerous Covid variants.”
Eligible students and staff have to register on the centralised EVDS portal and bring their South African ID and the student or staff card to the vaccine site. They need to follow the instructions provided by their university or college as the operational arrangements will vary across institutions.
Professor Ahluwalia said: “We have all experienced the disruption, pain and suffering that this pandemic is able to unleash. The time is now for us to unite behind vaccines as the most accessible and most powerful means to delay and minimise the fourth wave.”