Sadtu, EE optimistic ahead of COVID-19 vaccine rollout for teachers

The Basic Education Department announced on Sunday that the programme would kick off on Wednesday and end on 8 July.

A South African healthcare worker receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Vaccines are being delivered to various provinces on Monday in preparation for the official vaccine rollout in the education sector this week.

The Basic Education Department announced on Sunday that the programme would kick off on Wednesday and end on 8 July.

Three hundred thousand Johnson & Johnson doses have been earmarked for those employed in the education sector and more doses are expected to arrive this week.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and lobby group Equal Education have welcomed the plan to vaccinate teachers this week.

The Basic Education Department said that it planned on vaccinating over 500,000 staff in the sector. The department has identified specific vaccination sites and will communicate arrangements to schools for appointments.

Sadtu secretary-general Mugwena Maluleke said that it was important that teachers who were on the front line were prioritised.

"We are quite elated by the preparations and logistics that the department has in place to ensure that our teachers and all education partners are vaccinated."

Equal Education's general secretary, Noncedo Madubedube, agreed with Sadtu that education staff who were in the classrooms be vaccinated.

"It is important and we are happy and will continue to monitor the rollout of the vaccinations because it is important that teachers are protected as best as they can by government."

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) said that it was prepared for the distribution of vaccines to staff.

The WCED said that as of Monday last week, there were 148 active cases reported among staff at schools. Since Friday, there were 546 active pupil cases reported by schools.

MEC Debbie Schäfer: "Vaccinating our staff will reduce the risk of them becoming seriously ill and making our schools safer places, giving us confidence of returning our schools to normal timetabling."

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