Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga spent her birthday meeting with all unions and associations in her sector to brief them on the details of the ambitious plans to vaccinate everyone involved with schools, across the country, in 14 days.
The first tranche of J&J vaccines have arrived in the country and are being distributed to provinces. A second tranche has already been allocated to the department to vaccinate the The programme will be run by the Basic Education Dept by follow strict guidelines from the Department of Health.
Details of the vaccine rollout:
All teachers, support staff, admin staff will be eligible to be vaccinated as long as they are over 18.
This will include teachers employed by the government, those employed by school governing bodies and those at independent schools registered in terms of the South African Schools Act.
Staff on the Persal system don't have to register on the EVDS system as the Education Department has taken their details from the Persal system that is used for their payroll. Lists supplied by the schools for SGB appointees and independent schools will be uploaded onto the EVDS.
Teachers are asked to make their own arrangements to get to the province's vaccination site, after communication with their school.
Staff will load their cellphone numbers and medical aid details (if they are members) on site. The vaccine is free whether the individuals have medical aid or not.
On-site registration is not possible. Staff should only go to a vaccination site when informed of their appointment.
You can't get the vaccine if:
You have had covid-19 in the last 30 days
You have had the seasonal flu vaccine in the last 14 days
You have been vaccinated with another vaccine such as the Pfizer or J&J under the Sisonke trial)
The message from the Minister was that the vaccination programme is of the highest importance. "In the next two weeks we want you to drop all and vaccinate".
However vaccine hesitancy could mean that the department do not reach their target. When teaching unions surveyed their members they have found most recently that 76% would like to take a vaccine.
The Minister clarified that the vaccination process is voluntary and noone will be forced to be vaccinated. However any teachers who are currently not attending school because they have co-morbidities will be expected to return to school. So if they don't take the vaccine this will put their employment at risk.