South African school teachers and education sector workers will start to receive their Covid-19 vaccine next week and the rollout will take place over a period of ten working days.
The deputy director-general of the health department, Dr Nicholas Crisp, said during a media briefing on Friday that 300 000 Johnson & Johnson doses have been earmarked for those employed in the education sector.
The consignment is set to arrive at OR Tambo International Airport on Friday after the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the batch for use in the country.
Crisp said there are around 582 000 people employed in the public and private basic education sector.
“Many of these people have already been vaccinated, some because they are over 60 and some because they work as psychologists who are registered as healthcare workers, but the majority of people still need to be vaccinated.”
The department will focus on vaccinating educators during the ten working-day rollout.
“The 300 000 doses will obviously not be enough to complete the entire sector, but fortunately, the next consignment of vaccines is due next week. It is also from a similar source in the United States and it is also on a short expiry date which is why we are accelerating this programme over such a short space of time,” he said.
The health department’s technical advisor, Dr Aquina Thulare, told the Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Health on Thursday that a special Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) programme will be dedicated to the education sector and vaccination centres have also been identified.
“The School Governing Body (SGB) databases have been verified and private school databases have been verified,” she said.
Educators will be informed which vaccination sites they can go to and there will be transport arranged for them according to Crisp.
“We are asking teachers and the other staff in the education sector that when they go and when they are called to the vaccination sites, to remember to take their ID documents and their medical aid information, if they are on medical aid,” he said.