Department Says There Are Enough Vaccines For Education Sector
Teacher's unions have expressed concern surrounding the amount of vaccines available for the education sector however Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga says that there are enough vaccines for all employees in the sector.
The vaccination of the South African education sector began this past week with 48 000 teachers having received their first jab on the first day of the national rollout. Majority of these taking place in KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape.
The Department of Basic Education has since released a statement which revealed that more than 105 000 educators and school staff were vaccinated in two days. On Wednesday, the Department of Health reported that 49 776 educators and school staff received the COVID-19 vaccine and on the second day 55 444 people were vaccinated.
The Department has set out to vaccinate its 582 000 teachers and school staff within 10 working days. However, unions have been concerned about whether there are enough vaccines available for the entire education sector as the country had only received a consignment of 300 000 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the education sector.
The Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has addressed these concerns saying that there should be enough vaccines for all the employees in the education sector to receive their vaccinations.
"We can assure teachers that we have enough vaccinations, the 300 000 is well planned," said Motshekga.
She says that teachers must not panic if their school did not receive vaccines within the first week. Fake whatsapp messages had been making its rounds claiming that the vaccines would run out which caused a rush in the Eastern Caoe, North West and the Free Sate. The department has urged teachers to stick to their scheduled vaccination times as there would be enough vaccinations for them.
"A rumour went around to say the vaccinations are running out... we want to appeal to people to say that they must wait for the plan and the programme," Motshekga said.
The South African Health Department said that about a million vaccines would be made available for the education sector with 700 000 J&J vaccine doses set to arrive in the country soon.
Vaccinations for teachers of any age group are voluntary and no one will be forced to be vaccinated. However those teachers who are currently not attending school because they have co-morbidities will be expected to return to school, so if they choose not to take the vaccine they will be putting their employment at risk.
Sadtu secretary-general, Mugwena Maluleke says that even though the vaccinations are voluntary it is important that teachers get vaccinated because they are frontline workers.
“There are 442 000 out of 482 000 have said ‘yes, we will take the vaccination’ and clearly it is that we have to continue to motivate all our teachers and all our support staff because they are frontline workers, and therefore they need more support for them to be able to take that particular decision. Yes, of course, vaccination is voluntary, however, we want to say as a union that vaccination works, vaccination is safe.”-Sadtu secretary-general, Mugwena Maluleke
As of 25 June, more than 2.6 million people have received their first vaccine dose with more than 470 000 being fully vaccinated.
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