Union Says 75% of Teachers Prepared To Take The Vaccine

The South African Health Department says that 300 000 vaccine doses have arrived in the country for teachers. Unions say that 75% of teachers in the country are willing to take the vaccine. 

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After the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) cleared 300 000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses for use in South Africa the Deputy director-general of the health department, Dr Nicholas Crisp, said during a media briefing that the batch would arrive on Friday. This batch of vaccines was set aside for those working in the education sector. 

It is said that the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines for teachers and others in the education sector will take place this week over a period of ten days. 

It is estimated that there are 582 000 people employed in the public and private basic education sector. Dr Crisp says that many of these people have already been vaccinated as some are over 60 and others are psychologists who are registered as healthworkers. 

“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."

Dr Crisp says that they are aware that the 300 000 will not cover the entire education sector but they are expecting the next consignment of vaccines next week, which should contribute to the remaining number of those awaiting their jabs. 

NAPTOSA executive director Basil Manuel says that the 300 000 vaccine doses is at least a start in the rollout process. 

"With the 300,000 we have to start somewhere, we need to have a plan and hopefully within the next couple of weeks will be covered," Manuel told Radio 702. 

He says that a survey done by the teachers unions shows that 75% of teachers will be taking the vaccine while 15% remain unsure about it. It seems that the remaining 10% completely refuse to take the vaccine. 

"We are still talking to some of our doubters. 75% of our members said they will take the vaccine, the other 15% were on the fence."- NAPTOSA Executive Director, Basil Manuel. 

He says that the number of "doubters" may have increased slightly due to the issues surrounding the J&J vaccines. 

Manuel says that their message of encouragement is that teachers are now at the front of the line to receive the vaccine and they should grab the opportunity as fast as they can. 

Manuel says that every district will have one to three vaccine sites and schools have received the dates on when to go for their vaccinations. Dr Crisp said in his briefing that transport may be arranged for educators to get to these vaccination sites. 

“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,” Crisp said. 

Since Covid-19 vaccines have been rolled out more than two million people have been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine or under the Sisonke Johnson & Johnson implementation study. 

 

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