DBE misses target to jab staff as more people added to list

While the target was over 500,000, that number has increased to over 789,000 and now include other groups in the sector.

An education department employee gets a COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Rabasotho community hall in Tembisa on 23 June 2021. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has missed its target to vaccinate all education staff, but it said that was because it added more people to its targeted list.

The initial deadline to reach more than 582,000 people in the sector was Thursday.

But Minister Angie Motshekga has approached the National Department of Health for an extension to allow officials to administer COVID-19 vaccines to those working in the sector.

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Since the start of the rollout two weeks ago, 400,000 teaching staff have been vaccinated.

While the target was over 500,000, that number has increased to over 789,000 and now include other groups in the sector.

Minister Motshekga said they therefore needed more time.

“I was a bit unhappy late last week when we couldn’t get groups such as the SGBs on the system and it took longer than I had anticipated. Hopefully by Friday or Monday latest, we’ll have a clear picture of how many are outstanding.”

And, while the vaccination is voluntary, the department is encouraging teachers to get the jab.

Motshekga has indicated that when schools reopen, they will be expecting all teachers, including those with comorbidities, to return to work.

Sixteen thousand teachers have been on special leave because they have other underlying medical conditions, making them vulnerable to COVID 19.

So far, the Western Cape has achieved 61% of its vaccination target, Gauteng 65% and the Eastern Cape over 70%.

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