Teachers’ unions have released a joint statement encouraging members to get their Covid-19 vaccination jab before the week ends.
Teachers and school support staff have been given until July 8 to get the single dose Johnson & Johnson shot.
The SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa), Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysers Unie (SAOU), Professional Educators Union (PEU) and the National Teachers’ Union (Natu) all confirmed that the vaccination programme is continuing in all provinces this week, even though schools have closed.
“This window of opportunity closes at the end of this 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 roll-out,” the unions called.
The unions said they were aware of registration challenges for some in the education sector but assured that the registration database had been updated and all was in order.
“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.
“We reiterate that the science is clear that the vaccination is safe – and that we all are much more protected against the virus than without a vaccination. The risks of contracting serious illness are much reduced if you have had the vaccination. It works, it has been approved by the regulatory bodies, it is not experimental, and all unions leaders are glad to have taken it,” the unions said.
Teachers and support staff who are travelling for holidays from one district to another within the same province can still vaccinate at the nearest centres. They need to bring along their identity document.
The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has already expressed concern over the teachers’ refusal to get vaccinated. It said it is extremely alarmed that 9 113 educators and support staff – some with comorbidities – are refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccination jabs.
The province’s education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said: “We are very worried that nearly 10 000 of our personnel in the Gauteng education sector are, for one reason or the other, refusing to be vaccinated against this deadly virus which has wreaked havoc in our schools and communities by taking away our loved ones”.
So far, Gauteng has vaccinated 53 154 educators and support staff, out of 124 934 personnel, the Western Cape 28 500 and KwaZulu Natal 88 697.