Concern as 9113 Gauteng teachers refuse to take Covid vaccine
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Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Education says it is ‘gravely alarmed’ after more than 9113 teachers and support staff refused to take Covid-19 vaccine jabs in the province.
Between June and July, Covid-19 vaccinations have been taking place across the country for teachers and support staff in the education sector in a bid to protect them from the coronavirus.
The Education Sector Vaccination Rollout Programme commenced on June 23 and was expected to last just over two weeks, allowing teachers and education sector officials to get their jabs.
As part of measures to quell the spread of the virus, President Cyril Ramaphosa instituted a strict level 4 lockdown and closed schools early for the mid-year holidays as a third wave intensified, particularly in Gauteng, which is seeing over 10 000 new daily cases of the virus in recent days.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he was concerned by the latest development of teachers and support staff in the sector refusing to take the jabs.
“We are very worried that nearly 10 000 of our personnel in the Gauteng education sector are, for one reason or the other, refusing to be vaccinated against this deadly virus which has wreaked havoc in our schools and communities by taking away our loved ones,” he said.
Vaccinations were still taking place for teachers and support staff in the sector, and they were voluntary in nature.
Scientists have said although taking the vaccine does not mean one cannot be infected, they have found that the vaccines reduce the risk of developing severe illness.
In Gauteng, over 53 000 teachers and support staff have been vaccinated against the virus so far from their target of over 120 000 people.
“The number of vaccinated personnel is expected to increase next week as the delays in the capturing of educators and support staff from SGBs and independent schools has been resolved,” Gauteng Education spokesperson Steve Mabona explained.
“It is common cause that learners are on recess and, as such, in the coming week, sites will be conducting mop-ups to ensure that all outstanding personnel is vaccinated accordingly.
“It needs to be noted that the reluctance to vaccinate is a threat to the government’s efforts to normalise schooling during this disruptive pandemic and effectively threatens the academic year in its entirety,” said Mabona.
The Gauteng Department of Education says it will continue to urge those who refuse to take the vaccine to do so as contact learning was expected to resume beyond the mid-year holidays.
“We, again, urge those who are refusing to vaccinate to come forward and take this vaccination which millions across the world are seeking,” said Mabona.