“Teachers are people that give birth to all our professions. Therefore, you need to protect them because they take care of our precious children!”
Johannesburg, South Africa (24 June 2021) – Public and private school teachers are finally receiving their COVID-19 vaccines across the country amid the third wave!
The launch of the educator’s vaccination programme was kicked off in Gauteng on Wednesday, 23rd of June and more than 48 000 teachers and staff were vaccinated on the first day, according to Elijah Mhlanga, Chief Director for the Department of Basic Education. Mhlanga was basing this on a preliminary report from the Department of Health.
This figure excludes the Western Cape and Limpopo, who will start administering the vaccines “in earnest” on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
“While the Western Cape only recorded about 30 people as vaccinated for the launch. Limpopo didn’t vaccinate today in line with their plan. The province will vaccinate over two weekends starting this Friday and Saturday and will then conclude next week Friday and Saturday.”
All the other provinces started rolling out today, with KwaZulu-Natal vaccinating the largest number and the lowest number vaccinated in the Northern Cape. The Northern Cape has decided to send mobile teams to some of the smallest towns to kickstart the campaign.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is optimistic that 582 000 public, private, and school governing body-appointed teachers and support staff will be vaccinated in the next two weeks.
“We said we need two weeks because we don’t want to disrupt schooling, and when we close on the 8th of July, we want to be done so that when we come back in the next term, we are done with vaccination.”
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who also got vaccinated, said he was feeling good. He shot down criticism that the government was vaccinating all teachers, including the young ones who may have no comorbidities.
“Teachers are people that give birth to all our professions. Therefore, you need to protect them because they take care of our precious children. If you check the numbers that are increasing in our schools, you’ll see it’s important to protect our educators,” Lesufi said.
The MEC described the choice to immunise teachers as a brilliant one, given the third wave is ravaging the province.
“Every child [has a family], and you don’t want them to carry the virus to their families. It’s for the future and the economy of the country to ensure that young people are protected.”
Lesufi said the government is determined to protect its citizens and procure much-needed vaccines. Additionally, he encouraged all teachers to grab this opportunity to get vaccinated.
Solidarity in Action
The Solidarity Fund was designed as a rapid response vehicle to mobilise South Africa against the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting health, humanitarian and social consequences. The incredible initiative is a nonprofit organization that is set up to support Mzansi with the South African spirit of ubuntu in these unprecedented times.
“This has always been the South African way. Now more than ever, we need to remember that we are a nation of people who overcome, who encourage and uplift each other and who can inspire new ways of being. We will overcome COVID-19 together and will be stronger as a nation,” says Wendy Tlou, The Solidarity Fund’s head of the Humanitarian Response and Behaviour Change Pillars.
For more information on the benefits and facts about the COVID-19 vaccine, please check out the Solidarity Fund by clicking here.