Naptosa, Sadtu concerned over number of J&J jabs earmarked for teachers

Teachers’ unions said that they were eagerly waiting for the 300,000 COVID-19 vaccines promised by Aspen Pharmacare to arrive but were worried about the quantity being earmarked for South Africa's teachers.

FILE: In this file photo taken on 5 March 2021 registered nurse Florisa N. Lingad holds a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center established at the Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Teachers’ unions said that they were eagerly waiting for the 300,000 COVID-19 vaccines promised by Aspen Pharmacare to arrive but were worried about the quantity being earmarked for South Africa's teachers.

It’s understood that these Johnson & Johnson doses are not part of the 2 million jabs currently at the Gqeberha facility in the Eastern Cape which have to be destroyed as a safety precaution.

Aspen has assured officials that it would have replacement doses ready within a fortnight, with the teacher's shots arriving in the coming days.

Naptosa president Basil Manuel said that his union was excited about Aspen Pharmacare’s announcement, which would see thousands of teachers getting their long-awaited jabs.

“We are worried about the numbers because you know there are 420,000 teachers and we know that a number of them won’t get it because they're either over the age of 60 or under 40, but it's the beginning and we are excited that it is happening," he said.

Sadtu’s Nomusa Cembi said that they shared the same concerns over the relatively small quantity being made available to teachers but hoped that those who were eligible would take up the opportunity.

“They should also not only focus on teachers but on education personnel that is working at our schools. Just like teachers, they are frontline workers who should be getting the vaccine,” she said.

The teacher unions have requested a meeting with a Basic Education Department to discuss guidelines around how the rollout of these vaccines would work.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.