Schools are set to reopen Monday 26 July after the winter break and while classrooms are being prepared to accommodate students, the Department of Basic Education has prepared teachers with their vaccine doses to protect them against Covid-19.
Majority of the education sector has been vaccinated however a small percentage of teachers are still hesitant to receive the jab. The department has tried to deal with this hesitancy by detailing reasons why it is important to vaccinate against Covid-19.
The department's spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga detailed the importance of getting vaccinated in a statement.
The reasons to get vaccinated included the following:
- All vaccines used in South Africa have been tested and approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) – an entity of the National Department of Health created by the government with the responsibility to regulate health products in the country.
- Getting the vaccine will protect you from severe illness, hospitalisation and death from Covid-19.
- When you are vaccinated, your immune system will recognise the virus quickly when you get infected with Covid-19 and prevent you from becoming severely ill or dying.
- Get vaccinated, you will be doing it for yourself and your loved ones. When we collectively take the decision to get vaccinated, we take a step closer to returning to getting back to life as we knew it.
- Our leaders in government, teacher unions, faith-based and other sectors have already gotten the vaccine.
All teachers and support staff are receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with vaccination being voluntary.
The Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said that the department did not expect to vaccinate 100% of its personnel due to various factors including vaccine hesitancy but that it was pleased with the high numbers which were vaccinated.
Those teachers and support staff who were unable to receive the vaccine due to the past week of unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng will be given the opportunity to do so says the department.
"The Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) will automatically reschedule appointments for those unable to attend; it is programmed to reschedule up to two missed appointments," the department said.
The KwaZulu-Natal Basic Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi says that these teachers and support staff will be expected to go to vaccination sites as ordinary citizens.