Blade Nzimande urges health students to 'volunteer' to help with Covid-19 vaccine rollout

29 January 2021 - 11:22 By unathi nkanjeni
Higher education minister Blade Nzimande. File image.
Higher education minister Blade Nzimande. File image.
Image: GCIS

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande has called on health students to assist the health department with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout on a volunteer basis.

Speaking at the Higher Health webinar this week, Nzimande said the health department couldn't vaccinate 40 million people all by itself.

He said his department needed to play its part as a sector.

“We are working closely with other sister government departments to build a health department-approved training programme for the post-school education and training (PSET) sector for a science-based awareness and education initiative on the national Covid vaccination drive,” said Nzimande.

The move comes after ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba claimed that over 500 experienced medical doctors and thousands of qualified nurses were sitting at home unemployed, despite the insufficient capacity to treat Covid-19 patients.

According to Nzimande, plans are already in the works to train thousands of peer educators, student volunteers, and staff to assist the government, but more hands are needed to see the rollout run smoothly.

“I urge our institutions and higher health to mobilise and capacitate our own health-care workers, staff and final-year health science students to volunteer to be trained and act as extra hands supporting the department of health, as it is impossible for 40 million people to be vaccinated by a single department,” he said.

He said extra hands will also help bust myths about the virus and render knowledge, education and information to support the massive countrywide vaccination drive.

“We will amplify dialogues to address vaccination hesitancy and tackle other myths aimed to mislead our people, like the untruth that Covid-19 is caused by new technologies such as 5G,” Nzimande said.