Vaccinations to start for teachers from next week
Teachers, cleaners and other support staff at the more than 25,000 public schools in SA will be vaccinated against Covid-19 from Wednesday.
Ben Machipi, general secretary of the Professional Educators Union (PEU), confirmed that acting director-general of basic education Granville Whittle told teacher unions at a meeting on Friday that 500,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines would be made available for teachers and support staff.
He said that the vaccinations will take place at education district offices from June 9 until June 28.
“Each district will have a site or sites depending on the size of the district. We suggested that vaccination sites should also be local municipalities to make it more easily accessible to teachers,” he said.
He said that the provinces will issue a directive through circulars, starting on Monday, indicating how the vaccination process will unfold.
“We welcome the move by the departments of health and education to take teachers on board so that they become the second cohort of public servants to be vaccinated,” he said.
Machipi said that they were encouraging all their members “to avail themselves for vaccinations”.
He said that basic education minister Angie Motshekga was expected to make an announcement on the vaccine rollout shortly.
A source told TimesLIVE that the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines earmarked for teaching and support staff would be arriving in the country at the weekend.
On Thursday, KwaZulu-Natal health department head Sandile Tshabalala sent a letter to the provincial head of education, Enock Nzama, informing him that the national department of health had confirmed that the J&J vaccine will be available within the next week — “most of which should be used for educators”.
According to the letter, the target group is basic education, a reference to all staff members from primary and secondary schools.
“It is expected that the dedicated vaccination sites for educators will be ready by Wednesday [June 9] and the vaccination period will be two weeks,” the letter reads.
Tshabalala asked departmental co-ordinators in the health department to avail themselves for a planning meeting on Friday.
Motshekga received the jab on Tuesday.