'All systems go' as vaccines for teachers are distributed to provinces

22 June 2021 - 13:52
By naledi shange AND Naledi Shange
Covid-19 vaccinations for teachers have arrived in the provinces. File photo.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko Covid-19 vaccinations for teachers have arrived in the provinces. File photo.

The national education department says it is “all systems go” for the rollout of teacher vaccinations from Wednesday.

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga has clarified, however, that the vaccinations will not be administered on school premises.

“The vaccinations are not taking place in schools but at vaccination sites. All the vaccines have arrived in all the provinces and have been distributed to all the centres. We are starting officially tomorrow,” he said on Tuesday.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said at the weekend that the department was hoping to get 582,000 staff at public and private schools vaccinated between Wednesday and July 8.

Jab recipients would include support workers and people who work at education department offices nationally and provincially.

“As a sector we had appealed to cabinet and the department of health that teachers should be prioritised and we are excited that vaccines have been secured,” said Motshekga.

“We have been working around the clock to finalise a plan for the vaccination of our staff.” 

Motshekga had met with teacher unions, school governing bodies, independent schools and the principals' association before a meeting of the Council of Education on Saturday morning to brief them on the vaccination plan.

“We will be vaccinating irrespective of age and we will be vaccinating SGB-appointed teachers as well as teachers at private schools.”

Motshekga said vaccinations would be “voluntary but highly recommended”, and basic education department deputy director-general Granville Whittle said teachers with comorbidities who declined to be vaccinated would not be penalised.