The Western Cape Education Department said it is ready to begin with its Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine rollout on Wednesday.
According to the provincial department, the Western Cape health department has provided 29 vaccination sites for educators in the province.
The provincial education department’s spokesperson, Bronagh Hammond, said officials, educators, non-teaching staff as well as union representatives will together join in support and promoting the vaccination programme in the Western Cape by taking the single dose the J&J vaccine.
Head of Education in the Western Cape, Brent Walters said the announcement has brought great joy to the education sector.
“We celebrate the news that the rollout has been expanded to include all educators and non-teaching staff at public and independent schools, as well as all districts,” said Walters.
Adding that the vaccines are being transported to the Western Cape and there will be a two-day distribution period.
The province’s education department said the department of basic education indicated that they will receive 55 200 Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
Walters said they are confident that the vaccination drive will have a positive impact on the education sector.
“This is not only a major step towards recovery, but also a step towards improving the safety of our educators and staff and the provision of better learning opportunities for our learners,” said Walters.
However, he said educators and staff who have contracted Covid-19 in the past 30 days and those who have been vaccinated using another vaccine will not be vaccinated.
Adding that anyone who has received a flu vaccine in the past 14 days will also not be vaccinated.
“Schools are to still register the details of those staff members who are unable to attend due to having contracted Covid-19 in the past 30 days or having recently received the flu vaccines as they will have the opportunity to be vaccinated until 8 July,” said Walters.
Some teacher unions have welcomed the start of the vaccination of educators across the country.
Basil Manuel, Executive Director for National Professional Teachers’ Organization of South Africa told Inside Education that they hope every educator will take this opportunity to get vaccinated in the next two weeks.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union’s Mugwena Maluleke said educators must know that the vaccination is safe and it works.
Manuel said what we want is that every single teacher irrespective of whether you are governing body paid, state paid or you are in a private school must be vaccinated.
Maluleke said although vaccinations are done voluntarily, it is imperative for teachers to get the jab as they are frontline workers.
Educators across the country are preparing to get vaccinated following the arrival of 300 000 J&J vaccines earmarked for teachers and supporting staff from private and public schools.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that 582 000 people in the basic education sector will be vaccinated from Wednesday until 8 July.
Motshekga said this number includes all teachers in public and private schools, all administrative and support staff in public schools. The number also includes staff of teacher unions, officials in district, provincial and the national department of education.