Final prep under way for Gauteng education sector employees to get COVID vaccine

Teachers and staff will receive their COVID-19 shot in a two-week push to administer over half a million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the vulnerable schools' sector.

FILE: A vaccinator recording the details of a vaccine set to be given to a healthcare worker at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria on 17 February 2021. Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

TEMBISA - Final preparations are under way across several vaccine sites in Gauteng where thousands of employees in the education sector are expected to get their long-awaited jabs.

Teachers and staff will receive their COVID-19 shot in a two-week push to administer over half a million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the vulnerable schools' sector.

In just a short space of time, the Tembisa Community Hall has sprung to life, with officials putting last minute preparations in place before the arrival of teachers and staff from the education sector.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi will be joined by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga at this hall to welcome some of the nation's educators.

This centre is just one of the 25 vaccine sites set up to inoculate thousands of teachers, school governing personnel, cleaners and other school staff in a bid to bring some stability to the sector.

This rollout is vital given the infection numbers we’ve been seeing at South Africa’s schools - to date over 1,000 teachers and nearly 2,000 pupils have tested positive for the virus while over 20 schools in Gauteng have at some point had to close.

SMOOTH PROCESS

While South Africa’s vaccine rollout has been marred by supply constraints and delays in procurement, the Gauteng Education Department is hoping that the first day of education sector inculcations will run smoothly.

Spokesperson Steve Mabona said that lost teaching time was a major part of government’s decision to keep schools in the country open despite soaring infection rates in Gauteng, which was driving the third wave nationally.

"We have about 71,000 from our system, we have 10,000 from the SGB and we have about 19,000 coming from independent schools. Then there's another 24,000, which is admin staff, your general assistants and all that, so it takes you to around 125,000 - it's a huge project," Mabona said.

After teachers, police officers, the military and prison warders were the next group of essential workers set to be vaccinated.

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