More than 48,000 teachers and school staff were inoculated on the first day of the vaccination rollout programme aimed at staff in the basic education sector, with KwaZulu-Natal recording the highest number of jabs administered.
Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said in some provinces, educators had rushed to the vaccination sites because of misinformation.
“A WhatsApp message was circulated in some provinces claiming that the Department of Health was going to run out of vaccines. This led to a rush on some vaccine sites, particularly in the Eastern Cape, North West and Free State provinces,” Mhlanga said.
This was not the case, as the department had given assurance that it had secured enough vaccines to cover all teachers and school support staff.
Meanwhile, in Gauteng, a burst water pipe at one site and the delivery of the Pfizer vaccine, instead of the allocated Johnson & Johnson vaccines, created glitches that were swiftly resolved.
The province said these issues were rectified and the Pfizer vaccine was instead taken to sites earmarked for department workers over the age of 60.
“For the record, the education sector workers are being inoculated with the Johnson & Johnson single-dose jab; while the over-60s campaign is being rolled out using the Pfizer vaccine,” the Gauteng education department said.
“The miscommunication which took place related to the delivery of the vaccine to the incorrect section at the correct site; and the matter was swiftly resolved before any vaccine was administered to any of our employees,” it added.
Mhlanga said the Western Cape and Limpopo are to start their vaccinations on Thursday and Friday respectively.
“The Western Cape only recorded about 30 people as vaccinated for the purposes of the launch,” said Mhlanga.
“Limpopo will vaccinate over two weekends starting this Friday and Saturday and will then conclude next week Friday and Saturday,” he added.
The Northern Cape will send mobile teams to some of their smallest towns to kick-start their campaign.
“The department once again urges educators and support staff to adhere to the schedules given by the district offices. Strict adherence to health and safety protocols is paramount at all vaccination sites,” Mhlanga said.
“The vaccination has no age limit for all members of staff and educators in the sector,” he added.
The vaccination for the sector is meant to be concluded on July 8.