More than 200 000 teachers, school staff have been vaccinated so far - Angie Motshekga

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SA's public schools are set to close a week earlier due to rising Covid-19 numbers.
SA's public schools are set to close a week earlier due to rising Covid-19 numbers.
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  • Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccination programme is going well for the sector.
  • Motshekga says the programme will continue even after schools close on Wednesday. 
  • The department aims to have every targetted staff member vaccinated by the end of next week.  

More than 200 000 teachers and education support staff have been vaccinated so far, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says.

Motshekga spoke during a media briefing held at Seemahale Secondary School in Botshabelo, Free State, on Monday.

Free State Health MEC Montseng Tsiu and Education MEC Tate Makgoe also addressed the briefing.

READ | Lockdown: Public schools to reopen a week earlier because of early closure

Motshekga is in the province to monitor the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccination programme for the education sector. 

The Council of Education Ministers (CEM) held a meeting on Monday morning to reflect on President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that the country was moving to Adjusted Lockdown Level 4.

Motshekga said the council also heard a report that more than 200 000 teachers and staff members have been vaccinated so far. 

READAbout 185 000 teachers, staff vaccinated to date, says basic education dept

The sector's vaccination programme started last week Wednesday. It has set itself a target of vaccinating 582 564 staff members by 9 July. 

Tsiu said 32 000 education workers were set to be inoculated in Free State.

She said that 4 152 workers were vaccinated on 23 June when the programme for the sector started.

By Friday, 12 923 people in the sector received their jabs, the MEC added. 

We are expecting that by today (Monday), we would have consumed all the vaccines we received, that is 16 800. And tomorrow (Tuesday) we are receiving the next batch with is 16 800 which we are hoping to consume by Friday, because we are hoping to vaccinate everyone by Friday so that we are at least left with people people that will be doing mop up next week.

There were 29 vaccination sites across the province.

Tsiu said 28 of the sites were on school premises, and one was at the province's Universitas hospital.

ALSO READ |  Teachers told not to panic, more vaccines coming

The health MEC said: "When we talk about the vaccination rollout in the province, that is not just targeting educators; now we are talking about the 60 years and older. So far, we have managed to vaccinate 143 583 by [last] Friday. Here we are including even the Sisonke [programme] where we vaccinated the healthcare workers."

She added that the province had learned that a few of its healthcare workers had been infected with the virus since the inoculation programme for the health sector started. 

TAKE PART | How will lockdown Level 4 affect you?

Motshekga said she was pleased with the programme and stressed that staff members scheduled to receive their jabs next week should make themselves available although schools were closed. 

The minister said the sector wants to conclude the programme by next week. 

Motshekga also outlined, during the briefing, that the health department was assisting the sector to establish the teachers who were infected with the virus and those who took the flu vaccines, and would therefore not be able to receive the jab yet. 

She said a special programme for those teachers would be made available. 

Motshekga said:

If by the time we reopen, we still find out that there are still some teachers who have not been vaccinated, we will arrange with [the] health [department]. But we are saying, any other person who has no reason, either flu vaccine, or Covid-19, who would not have vaccinated this time, we want all of them to come now. Because when we reopen in July, we don't want to be running a vaccination programme.

Schools were expected to close on 30 June and reopen on 19 July. 

On Monday, the Limpopo education department announced that the total number of staff members vaccinated by 26 June was 30 314. 

It said it had about 7 000 doses left from the 38 400 it received, adding that it would issue instructions on how remaining staffers would be vaccinated. 

Motshekga said she was also delighted to hear that KwaZulu-Natal had vaccinated about 60 000 educators. 

"And indeed, the department of health has assured us that additional doses will be made available to us so that there will be no reason for us to stop ... until we finish our programme," Motshekga added. 

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