Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Saturday announced that vaccinations for schooling staff will commence next week.
Addressing the media in Pretoria on the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE’s) Covid-19 response, Motshekga said vaccinations will start on Wednesday 23 June until 8 July – a day before schools close to mark the end of the second school term.
The minister said vaccinations will be voluntary and there will be no age limitation.
“No one will be forced to do it. However, teachers with comorbidities are requested to vaccinate in order to be protected,” Motshekga said.
The government aims to vaccinate 582,000 teachers, administrative and support staff in all schools.
The department of health and the DBE at provincial and district levels will work together to link schools to identified vaccination sites.
“The departments of health and basic education have been working around the clock in the past few weeks, to finalise a plan on the vaccination of our educators and support staff.
“We have also been working very closely with our stakeholders, who have contributed immensely in ensuring the success of the vaccination programme,” Motshekga said.
School staff that will not qualify to be vaccinated include any person who had contracted Covid-19 in the past 30 days, those who have already been vaccinated and any person who had received a flu vaccine in the past 14 days.
Schools to remain open
Motshekga also said schools will remain open despite calls for schools to be closed due to the third wave of the pandemic. She said a majority of school governing bodies and teacher unions agreed with the DBE that schools should not be closed.
“We believe that schools must remain open and in saying so we are not insensitive to the concerns raised about the rising infections,” Motshekga said.
The minister said about 100 schools across the country have been disrupted due to outbreaks of Covid-19 infections. She said her department will close schools on a case-by-case basis.