News / South Africa / Education

Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
3 Jul 2021
12:05 pm

Fake news causes thousands of teachers to refuse Covid-19 jab

Siyanda Ndlovu

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said it was worrying that some teachers had fallen for fake news traps and hoaxes.

East Rand teachers wait to be vaccinated at Rabasotho Community Centre in Johannesburg, last week, on the first day of the roll-out of the vaccination for teachers. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Gauteng Department of Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has expressed concerns that almost 10,000 teachers and support staff in the Gauteng Department of Basic Education sector have refused to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

The department said on Friday that a sum of 9 113 employees – some with comorbidities – had refused to take the jab.

Lesufi said this was a cause for concern as many staffers are scared to get inoculated due to hoaxes and fake news stories making the rounds about the vaccines.

ALSO READ: Almost 10,000 teachers, support staff refuse Covid jab in Gauteng

“The reason they have refused the vaccines mainly is the power of fake news that has taken over some of our staff members,” Lesufi said during an interview with eNCA on Saturday morning.

“It worries us, especially that some educators fall within that trap and accept fake news as a reality and refusing to take the vaccine.”

Lesufi said the department will continue persuading the staffers to get their jabs, but will not force them, as it is their constitutional right to refuse the jab.

“We live in a democratic state, I think we should accept that and that the use of vaccine is not compulsory within the sector,” said Lesufi.

ALSO READ: Fake WhatsApp message about vaccines has teachers in a tizzy

“It is a choice that is highly recommended, and as a department, we will continue to persuade and ensure that educators accept this responsibility because we need to protect our children and we need to protect the sector.

“The sector has gone through some painful periods, so it is important that we minimise the pain and the frustration.”

Gauteng has inoculated a sum of 53,154 out of 124,934 education staff across the province, according to Lesufi.

Gauteng Department of Education Spokesperson Steve Mabona said the numbers were expected to increase next week.

This after delays in capturing teachers and support staff in school governing body posts and those from private schools were resolved.

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Additional reporting by News24 Wire.