Primary school teachers who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccination are encouraging colleagues who have not yet vaccinated to set an example by getting the jab.
On 23 June, the vaccination of teachers kicked off at the Rabasotho Community Centre in Tembisa and the deadline for vaccinations set by the department of basic education was 8 July.
Foundation phase teacher Zukiswa Mpondo said she decided to get vaccinated because she interacted with children and wanted to be proactive about her health.
“I vaccinated because I wanted to take care of my health and also be prevented from severe illnesses which are caused by Covid,” she said.
“Another reason is I teach pupils who are careless and could bring the virus into the classroom.”
Clara Maleka, an intermediate phase teacher, said even though she experienced the Johnson & Johnson side effects, receiving the vaccine was a good idea.
“I know that if I contract the virus, the chances of it killing me are low, as well as chances of being hospitalised.”
Maleka added that primary school pupils also needed to be vaccinated and that government could do better with its awareness programmes.
“Pupils under the age of 18 must also vaccinate so that we can all be protected because they can be carriers of the virus unknowingly to the classrooms and might spread the virus,” she said.
“I do not think the government is doing enough with its awareness, we should be seeing vaccination adverts on television during news bulletins and popular programmes in communities.”
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga in July spoke at the virtual Seminar on Teacher Well-Being and said the vaccination of teachers was a crucial step to achieve optimal occupational safety and restore confidence in the sector.
“The issue of teacher well-being is more urgent today amid the Covid pandemic that seeks to undo the gains we have made as a global education fraternity in the last two decades,” she said.
Motshekga added that the department has already passed the 400 000 mark for vaccinations.
“By 8 July, we vaccinated just over 400 000 of the initial target of 582 000,” she said.
“Due to the vaccination programme’s success and enthusiasm in the sector, we extended it to all auxiliary staff in the basic education sector.”