COVID-19 jab should've come much earlier for education sector, say some teachers

From Wednesday, teachers and school staff in most parts of the country will be inoculated while those in the Western Cape will have to wait until Friday.

Image: © Chokniti Khongchum/123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - Government's national vaccination programme for those in the education sector has been met with mixed reactions by some teachers, who believe that it should have been administered much earlier.

The education sector has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with hundreds of teachers succumbing to COVID-19 in the past year alone.

From Wednesday, teachers and school staff in most parts of the country will be inoculated while those in the Western Cape will have to wait until Friday.

Government plans to administer the jabs to 582,000 workers over the next two weeks using the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

While teachers have widely welcomed government's vaccination drive for the sector, some believe that educators should have been among the first group of people to get the jab in the country.

Verona Dunn is an educator at Krugersdorp High School, which has like many other schools in the country experienced disruptions due to COVID-19 cases.

"We should have been part of the first round of people who got the COVID-19 vaccine," Dunn said.

Mesuli Sibanda from Actonville Primary School in Benoni recalled how anxious he and other teachers were seeing their colleagues battle the virus.

"My principal was one of the first patients to be struck by COVID right after lockdown," Sibanda recalled.

One teacher said that the sector may not be able to recover lost time in the near future due to the impact that the virus has had on schooling.

"There were some topics that we never covered simply because kids were not in school," she said.

The teachers are hoping that government will be able to meet its target of vaccinating more than half a million of their colleagues over the next two weeks, with the Basic Education Department keeping schools open in the midst of a third wave.

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