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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

AfriForum says DBE must explain the vaccine programme registration at school

Lobby group AfriForum has called for the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to clarify its statement on parents and guardians of learners being required to register for a vaccine programme. 

The DBE released a statement before learners returned to school for the second term in May, saying it is in the process of preparing for a vaccination programme as part of the Department of Health’s planned vaccine programme.

DBE Minister Angie Motshekga said according to the department of health, the first phase of the vaccination programme will target citizens that are over the age of 60-years and employees at risk who have been identified as social workers.

Spokesperson for DBE, Elijah Mhlanga, said parents and guardians of learners will be required to register as part of the preparation for the vaccine programme to be rolled out in a date to be announced by the health department.

Stavros Nicolaou, executive at Aspen Pharmacare said a third wave of Covid infections is inevitable. Every year in South Africa about 11 000 people die of flu.

Studies by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases show that Gauteng will have the worst third wave across all scenarios. This is due to the higher concentration of working-age adults and people with co-morbidities, and the lower estimates of previous infections in the province, said the study.

The report also states that there has been an increase of infections in the Free State and the North West.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said Covid-19 test positivity ratios have increased to 29% in the Northern Cape at the end of last week, 16.9% in the Free State and 12.3% in the North West.

On Monday Inside Education reported that a school 230 people had to self isolate after a school rugby game

At the time Mkhize said initially there were four people that tested positive.

“Then a whole crowd of over 200 people had to quarantined. And then in the process, the following day the number went up to 11 positive cases. Right now, there are about 32 people that tested positive for the coronavirus,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize added that the fact that this happened during a rugby game shows that schools, similarly, have loosened up conduct.

On Wednesday, two Gauteng schools were shut down after Covid-19 cases were detected.

Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the department can confirm that a decision has been made, in consultation with thedepartment oh health, district directors and Gauteng department of education management, to suspend academic activities at Krugersdorp High School and St John’s College as a means of managing the discovery of several Covid-19 cases in each school.

AfriForum’s Education Rights Manager Natasha Venter said as much as they understand the importance of vaccination, pupils, teachers and guardians cannot be forced in to programme.

“It should however be every person’s choice whether they, as well as their children, want to be vaccinated,” said Venter.

Venter added that President Cyril Ramaphosa repeatedly assured the country that no-one will be forced to receive the vaccine, something the statement released by DBE  Minister Angie Motshekga’s statement go against.

“DBE must clarify the statement about the required registration for the vaccine programme. We want to know the purpose of the registration and whether parents and guardians would be forced to register,” said Venter.

Adding that clarity is also required on who should register. “Is it the guardians and parents or is it the children.

“Also, should the government intend to make the vaccination of learners at public schools and the registration thereof compulsory, AfriForum will oppose it,” said Venter.

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