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Sunday, December 5, 2021

KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape Ramp Up Their COVID-19 Vaccination Drives At Schools As Cases Increase

MPUMALANGA, KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape have embarked on COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in schools in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. 

Various schools in these provinces have been directed to cooperate with the Department of Health regarding student vaccinations and provide space and necessary facilities available for the purpose.

Department of Basic Education said last week that vaccination programme has brought life back to normal in many schools around the country.

All parents’ organisations, teacher unions and school governing bodies have been taken into confidence so that the risk of educational disruption could be minimized.

All learners 18 years and above will be vaccinated in their respective schools to ensure that teaching and learning are not disrupted.

While announcing the outcomes of the ANC NEC lekgotla on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said everyone must be more proactive to assist government in consistently highlighting the safety of the vaccine and its efficacy in protecting people against serious illness and death.

“About 25 million doses of the J&J vaccine was completed at the Aspen plant in the E Cape, and more than half of these have been released in the market. Production is now mainly for use in SA and the rest of Africa,” said Ramaphosa.

“BIOVAC received a commitment from Pfizer/Biontech to produce their vaccine in SA, scaling up over a period to 100m doses and the SA firm is now getting ready to retool for this opportunity.”

The Northern Cape Department of Education has raised concern about the amount of learning losses as new COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the province’s schools.

At least 1 272 cases of the virus have been reported since 23 August to date with several schools closed and learning delayed.

In a statement, the department said the rising infections are compromising the learners’ ability to perform at a high level.

“This continues to take a devastating toll on the academic performance of learners and their preparedness for the examinations. It’s clear that the academic recovery will take much longer than expected, whilst the current reality is placing a massive strain on the entire education sector.

“The department is doing all that we can to support educators and learners across all grades during these difficult times,” the statement said.

The department said 410 new cases have been reported.

“The new COVID-19 infections include 28 educators, 367 learners and 15 support staff at various schools. We currently have seven schools which are closed in the province to allow for contact tracing and the disinfection of school premises,” the statement said.

KwaZulu-Natal has been ranked as the province with the third highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Schools in Kwa-Zulu Natal have seen an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections among teachers, support staff and students. The province has recorded more than 1100 reported cases in 350 schools in the past 3 weeks.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala announced that the department of health in the province will look to ramp up its vaccination program.

So far the province has inoculated more than 2 million people.

He said that the province is aiming to vaccinate around 60 000 people per day as this will help the province reach its goal of vaccinating 7.2 million people by March 2022.

Meanwhile, learners in Mpumalanga who could not register using the above information will be allowed to register and be vaccinated on-site.

Learners are expected to produce their identity documents or birth certificate at vaccination sites.

The following category of personnel is excluded from the mass vaccination process, however:
• Any person who tested positive with Covid-19; they can only be vaccinated 30 days after quarantine or isolation.
• Any person that vaccinated against flu in the preceding 14 days.
• Any person that was vaccinated using another vaccine (Pfizer or J&J under Sisonke) should not be revaccinated.

A vaccination date for special schools will be communicated to school principals once all logistics have been finalised.

The Mpumalanga MEC for education, Bonakele Majuba, visited Lethabong Secondary School, KwaMhlanga, Thembisile Hani Local Municipality, on Monday to monitor the programme.

  • * Inside Education
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