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Nzimande: Health science students to educate public, assist with vaccine rollout

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says thousands of health science students will be trained to educate the public about vaccinations and to help the health department with its rollout programme.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on Wednesday said that the sector would increase communication and awareness to address uncertainty and misleading information about COVID-19.

Nzimande said that thousands of health science students would be trained to educate the public about vaccinations and help the Health Department with its rollout programme.

Government is expected to receive the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine this week.

As talks with the Health Department continue, Nzimande is hoping that medical students involved in clinical studies, as well as campus healthcare workers, will be included in the first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Nzimande said that in these times of misinformation, it was the duty of the education sector to use its skills, infrastructure and resources to deepen awareness around the pandemic.

“We will also amplify dialogues to address the vaccination hesitancy and tackle other means meant to mislead our people. This is important – like the untruth that COVID-19 is caused by new technologies such as 5G. All of us here need to be champions to counter the fake news and the means about COVID-19.”

The higher education sector’s academic year is expected to resume in March and Nzimande said that the biggest challenge would be to ensure that there were no COVID-19 outbreaks on campuses.

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