Teacher unions urge all members to get the jab

Window of opportunity 'closing at the end of the week'

Smanga Dube ,52, receiving a jab from a nurse in Zondi, Soweto during the first day of teachers' vaccination in Soweto. Unions have called on teachers to come forward and be vaccinated.
Smanga Dube ,52, receiving a jab from a nurse in Zondi, Soweto during the first day of teachers' vaccination in Soweto. Unions have called on teachers to come forward and be vaccinated.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Five teacher unions have urged their members who have not yet been vaccinated to do so.

The unions recognised by the Education Labour Relations Council, namely the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu), National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA (Naptosa), SA Teachers Union, National Teachers Union (Natu) and Professional Educators Union (PEU), said the window of opportunity was closing at the end of the week.

"We urge teachers and education support personnel to get to the designated vaccination sites so that we can all be safer. We must take advantage of this special dispensation for educators and education support personnel to be vaccinated ahead of the general population’s age-based rollout," read their statement.

The unions said they were aware that there have been some challenges with supplies and with registration of educators and education support personnel who are not on Persal, the personnel and salaries management system used by the national and provincial governments

"We are assured that registration data has now been loaded onto the electronic vaccination data system, and that it is all systems go for the rest of this week. Please make getting your vaccination your priority in the next few days – you will be safer, your families will be safer and you will know that you have made an important contribution to community safety."

Department of basic education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said more than 333,000 teachers and support staff have been vaccinated since the campaign started on June 23.

"Phase 1 targeted 300,000 to be vaccinated within the first 10 days of the programme. This target was based on the number of doses allocated of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the sector. By the end of day one of the sector’s vaccination programme a total of 48,000 were vaccinated. At the beginning of this month over 100% of the phase 1 target had been met across the nine provinces," he said.

Mhlanga said the department had received an additional 289,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

"These additional doses enable the sector to reach its overall target of vaccinating 582,564 educators and non-teaching staff.  The basic education sector will continue to administer the remaining doses of the vaccine to cover the remaining 282,512 staff.

"In addition, support staff from independent schools, food handlers, screeners, cleaners and ECD [early childhood development] practitioners will be included in the rollout programme," Mhlanga said.

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