10,000 Gauteng teachers 'refusing to be vaccinated', says Panyaza Lesufi
The Gauteng education department has expressed shock at the high number of teachers and support staff that are refusing the Covid-19 vaccination, saying even those with comorbidities have shown reluctance.
On Friday, education MEC Panyaza Lesufi appealed to education staff not to miss the opportunity to protect themselves against the deadly virus with vaccines “which millions across the world are seeking”.
He said key stakeholders in the education sector, such as unions and school governing bodies (SGBs), have thrown their support behind the programme “as they are well aware of the challenges that the virus is having on the provision of quality education to our children in Gauteng”.
“We are very worried that nearly 10,000 of our personnel in the Gauteng education sector are, for one reason or the other, refusing to be vaccinated against this deadly virus which has wreaked havoc in our schools and communities by taking away our loved ones.”
While vaccination is voluntary, the World Health Organisation (WHO) encourages people at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19, such as healthcare providers, educators, the elderly and people with other medical conditions, to take the life-saving jab to reduce the risk of developing the illness and its consequences.
“Getting vaccinated could also help protect people around you because if you are protected from getting infected from the disease; you are less likely to infect someone else,” said Lesufi.
Last week the department of basic education announced the start of the massive education sector vaccination rollout programme aimed at vaccinating all teachers across the country, including support staff.
Lesufi said out of about 125,000 education personnel, so far 53,154 educators and support staff have been vaccinated at 56 dedicated vaccination sites across Gauteng.
“The number of vaccinated personnel is expected to increase next week as the delays in the capturing of educators and support staff from SGBs and independent schools have been resolved,” he said.
“It is common cause that learners are on recess and, as such, in the coming week, sites will be conducting mop-ups to ensure that all outstanding personnel are vaccinated accordingly.
“It needs to be noted that the reluctance to vaccinate is a threat to the government’s efforts to normalise schooling during this disruptive pandemic and effectively threatens the academic year in its entirety.
“Educators were prioritised in this phase of the vaccine rollout and were expected to take advantage of this opportunity to avoid further disruptions and learning losses in the education sector due the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This would ensure that contact learning continues and that no learner will be deprived of learning in a classroom with all the necessary curriculum resources needed.
“The refusal to vaccinate also impacts on the rollout reaching other affected sectors timeously in order for the country to develop herd immunity.”