The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) announced that it plans to begin its vaccination roll-out of teachers and school staff on Friday.
On Monday, the WCED said it had been approved to receive additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) single dose vaccine and it was planning to start its roll-out programme on Friday, June 25.
According to the WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond, schools would be informed on Monday about the roll-out process. She said 29 sites, where vaccination would take place, have been identified across the province.
Both educators and non-teaching staff were eligible for vaccination, the WCED said.
On Saturday, Department of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that teachers would be vaccinated during the two weeks of school holidays.This comes as primary schools will be going back to 100% daily attendance at the start of the third term.
Motshekga said the department was aiming to vaccinate 582 000 teachers and support staff in the education sector.
“As you may already know, the vaccines have arrived, and are in the process of being distributed to all provinces. Provinces confirmed today that they are ready for the vaccination programme,” she said.
Motshekga said the departments of Health and Basic Education had been working around the clock to finalise a plan on vaccinating educators and support staff. Education sector staff would be receiving the J&J single dose vaccine.
The WCED on Sunday said schools would be notified of the time, date and centre at which their staff can be vaccinated.
“The roll-out is expected this week, however, we are still confirming the exact date as it’s delivery dependent,” said Hammond.
WCED head of department Brent Walters said the education sector has suffered great learning losses over the past 15 months, and it would be felt for years to come.
“We have, in the past two weeks, prepared for the roll-out and have been working closely with the provincial Department of Health to ensure that our educators are properly informed about the vaccine and the necessary sites have been established to ensure as seamless delivery as possible so as not to cause disruption in the sector. We will communicate to schools in the coming week,” he said.
Teachers and all education sector workers are not forced to vaccinate.
Walters urged all staff to participate, by vaccinating, to assist in making schools safer and getting back to some semblance of the normal.
The WCED said on June 9 Walters had written to all schools advising them of the vaccination plan, including a circular on the preparations for the roll-out.
“The first step was to ensure that our eligible staff were registered for the vaccines should they wish to receive them.
“The Department of Health also held information sessions for all principals on the vaccine, so they are fully informed and prepared ahead of the vaccination process,” the WCED said.