Teacher vaccinations: Delays in Eastern Cape as SGB, private school teachers left behind

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Teacher getting vaccinated during the first day of the vaccination rollout in the education sector.
Teacher getting vaccinated during the first day of the vaccination rollout in the education sector.
Darren Stewart/Gallo Images
    • More than 7 000 SGB and private school employees are not in the government payment system, making the verification process hard. 
    • The Eastern Cape has received 45 600 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to roll out in the education sector vaccination programme.
    • It will receive another consignment of 31 000 doses next week and has set a target to inoculate 76 825 employees within two weeks.

    The Eastern Cape vaccination programme, focusing on employees in the education sector, has been hit by delays which have seen more than 7 000 non-government employees including teachers left behind.

    The provincial health department said it had vaccinated 16 600 embers of the "education family" since the start of the campaign two days ago. 

    It said the group left behind are workers appointed by School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and independent schools.

    The department said it cannot vaccinate the group until they have been verified and captured into the Electronic Vaccination Data System.

    Health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said unlike public schools employees, the group is not in the government payment system known as PERSAL, making it difficult to verify them. 

    Kupelo said the provincial education department must send a list of all names of the people hired by SGBs and private schools to the Department of Basic Education.

    READ | Eastern Cape teachers are the main spreaders of Covid-19 at schools

    He said the provincial department of education was delaying the process. 

    Kupelo said: 

    We encourage the Eastern Cape department of education to submit their lists to National Department of Basic Education for the following cohorts - SGB appointed workers at public schools and their Independent Schools employees. National DBE will send these to National Department of Health for uploading on Electronic Vaccination Data System. Eastern Cape department of health will then be able to vaccinate these officials.

    The province has received 45 600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to roll out the education sector vaccination programme. 

    It has a target of vaccinating 76 825 employees within two weeks. 

    Kupelo said another consignment of 31 000 doses is expected next week. 

    Kupelo added:

    Eastern Cape department of education needs to speed up as this is delaying our vaccinators and cause those staff [left behind] to be unhappy and we want to control this to avoid fraudulent attempts of vaccinations.

    “We are excited by the smooth start of the 66 vaccination sites in the province and the response by the targeted group. Eastern Cape is currently number 2 in the country after KwaZulu-Natal province which has established over 100 vaccination sites,” said Kupelo.

    Eastern Cape education department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said the department has since submitted the list required by health department.    

    Meanwhile, more than 105 000 people in the education sector have been vaccinated in seven provinces in the past two days.

    The Department of Basic Education announced this in a statement on Friday. 

    The national department further said it has identified 582 000 educators and staff who are expected to be vaccinated by 8 July 2021 in the sector.

    ALSO READ Covid-19: Mabuyane supports possible closure of schools: 'They are potential superspreaders'

    On Wednesday, when the vaccination programme began, the Department of Health recorded 49 776 educators and staff who received the vaccines and on the second day 55 444 got their injections.

    The number of people vaccinated is set to increase significantly when Limpopo and Western Cape start in earnest on Friday.

    Limpopo Premier Chupu Mathabatha, Education MEC Polly Boshielo and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Friday launched the vaccination programme in the province at the Pietersburg Hospital.

    KwaZulu-Natal continues to lead with 32.1% of their target population vaccinated. 

    Eastern Cape registered 21%, Free State at 21.9%, Mpumalanga recording 26% and North West with 22% are all doing very well. 

    Northern Cape has recorded 12% while Gauteng is at 11% as of Thursday. These patterns also mirror the trends in the general population.

    ALSO READ Covid-19: Infections rise at Eastern Cape schools as universities focus on online learning

    The Department of Health announced in a statement on Friday that more Johnson & Johnson doses have arrived in the country.

    The Department of Basic Education also assured the sector that there will be enough vaccines doses for everybody in the basic education sector as initially announced.

    It urged all educators and staff to follow the schedules in each district to ensure a smooth rollout of the programme.

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