Here's why teachers are getting the J&J jab and not the Pfizer vaccine

23 June 2021 - 13:30
By cebelihle bhengu AND Cebelihle Bhengu
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga says teachers are receiving the J&J vaccines. File photo
Image: Freddie Mavunda Basic education minister Angie Motshekga says teachers are receiving the J&J vaccines. File photo

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga says the department is chasing a tight deadline to conclude the vaccination of teachers by July 8.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday from the Rabasotho community centre in Thembisa, Motshekga said the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) jab would help speed up the inoculation process for the department, as it only requires a single administration, unlike the Pfizer vaccine which needs two doses. 

“We're the ones who put the timelines to say we need two weeks because we don't want to disrupt schooling and, when we close on the 8th, we want to be done, so that when we come back in the next term we're done with vaccinations.

“The minister allocated us the J&J vaccine, so we have one date and it's done. We don't have new dates where we will check who has not come. It's [done] once and we're done,” said the minister. 

Motshekga said her appeal for the allocation of vaccines for teachers and the general staff had been supported by the cabinet and the suspended health minister Zweli Mkhize.

She said union leaders, who had also called for the vaccination of teachers, would as of Thursday lead the vaccination campaign. 

Deputy health minister Joe Phaahla commended Motshekga for lobbying for the swift vaccination of teachers.

“Minister Motshekga fought very hard to get us to where we are today. We know there was not a single national coronavirus command council meeting on vaccination where she would not raise that educators must get vaccinated so that they can save the school year,” he said.

On Sunday, Motshekga said primary schools would reopen full-time on July 26 so teachers could catch up on the curriculum. She said Covid-19 cases and cluster outbreaks in schools would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis rather than a complete shut down nationally.