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Higher education dept to train volunteers to assist in COVID-19 vaccine rollout

With the first batch of vaccines expected to be delivered this week Blade Nzimande said his colleagues at the Department of Health would need all the help.

FILE: Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande at a media briefing on 18 January 2021. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Higher Education will train thousands of educators, staff and student volunteers to support what is about to become the country’s biggest vaccination drive.

Minister Blade Nzimande elaborated on his department’s higher health initiative on Wednesday.

The project, which involves other participants in the sector, is a vital component in the fight against COVID-19, ensuring the safety and wellness of more than two million students and staff at universities around the country.

With the first batch of vaccines expected to be delivered this week, Nzimande said his colleagues at the Department of Health would need all the help they could get.

He called for support for the higher health initiative to coordinate the rollout.

“I urge our institutions and higher health to mobilise and capacitate our own healthcare workers, staff and final year science students to volunteer to be trained and act as extra hands as it will be impossible for 40 million people to be vaccinated by a single department.”

South Africa is expecting the first one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Serum Institute of India by the end of this week.

Another 500,000 doses will be shipped next month.

Nzimande said he’d asked that health sciences students and campus healthcare staff be included in the first round of inoculations.

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