Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
24 Jun 2021
8:52 am

Fake WhatsApp message about vaccines has teachers in a tizzy

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

A WhatsApp message was circulated on Wednesday claiming that the Department of Health was going to run out of vaccines.

East Rand teachers wait to be vaccinated at Rabasotho Community Centre in Johannesburg, 23 June 2021. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

While the Department of Basic Education (DBE) is satisfied with the first day of the vaccination programme in the sector, it also shared concerns about fake news causing panic among teachers.

According to the department, fake news played a “major” role in some of the challenges experienced on Wednesday.

In the Eastern Cape, North West and Free State, a WhatsApp message was circulated claiming that the Department of Health was going to run out of vaccines. This led to a rush on some vaccine sites.

In a statement, the DBE assured workers it had enough doses to cover the target population.

“Additional doses are on the way to SA and the government will be able to conclude the basic education programme within the 14-day period,” it said.

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“The department once again urges educators and support staff to adhere to the schedules given by the district offices. Strict adherence to health and safety protocols is paramount at all vaccination sites. The vaccination has no age limit for all members of staff and educators in the sector.”

According to a preliminary report from the department of health, more than 48,000 educators were vaccinated on Wednesday.

While KwaZulu-Natal administered the most vaccines, the least number of vaccines was administered in Northern Cape.

The Western Cape and Limpopo will start administering the vaccines on Thursday and Friday respectively.

Today, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and leaders of five teacher unions will be in Atteridgeville to monitor the vaccination programme.

No wrong jabs were administered

The Gauteng department education also corrected “misleading” headlines on Wednesday claiming some of its sites provided the education sector workers with the wrong vaccines.

“It needs to be noted that some sites allocated for the vaccination of the education sector workers in Gauteng also administer the vaccine under the health department’s campaign to vaccinate those over the age of 60,” said the department.

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“For the record, the education sector workers are being inoculated with the Johnson & Johnson single dose jab, while the over 60s campaign is being rolled out using the Pfizer vaccine.

“The miscommunication which took place related to the delivery of the vaccines to the incorrect section at the correct site. The matter was swiftly resolved before any vaccine was administered to any of our employees.”