- Western Cape matric pupils are being prioritised for Covid-19 vaccines.
- Slots at specific vaccination sites are being made available to pupils 18 and older.
- The vaccination programme aims to minimise disruptions to matric exams.
Matric pupils are being prioritised for their Covid-19 jabs in a partnership between the Western Cape health and education departments.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said specific arrangements were being made to prioritise pupils at selected vaccination sites.
She said the process had been communicated to schools, and that the names of pupils, along with parental consent, would be submitted to the school districts. Vaccination time slots would then be arranged for pupils, accompanied by a school representative at a vaccination site. The districts were also arranging transport.
Likho Joja from Fairdale High School was one of the matrics who got their jab.
"I decided to get vaccinated because I have seen a lot of people who have been infected by Covid-19, and some of them succumbed to the virus. It's important that I take the vaccine, especially because I am in my matric year. I cannot afford not to go to school as this is an essential time in my school life," said Joja.
Tiffany April from Ravensmead Senior Secondary School said she had decided to have the vaccine because she knew she would stand a better chance of surviving should she get the virus.
Yonda Mzamo from Fairdale High School said getting the vaccine was the best solution to ensure protection against the virus.
"I am scared that I might be infected by Covid-19 and miss some of my final exam papers. Getting the vaccine is the best option for me right now,” Mzamo added.
"Getting the Covid-19 vaccine is very important for us doing matric this year as we will be writing the NSC exams later this year. We need to ensure that we protect ourselves in order to complete our matric year this year," said Zinathi Mqombothi from Fairdale High School.
According to Western Cape health officials, ensuring matrics were vaccinated would offer the best chance to reduce disruptions during the National Senior Certificate Examinations.
Last year, there was a significant impact on matric exams because of the second wave of Covid-19 infections, Western Cape's health department head Dr Keith Cloete previously told News24.
"We want to protect matrics as much as possible to have an uninterrupted matric exam period towards the end of the year. That is one of the key drivers of returning society to normality," he said.
Only pupils older than 18 are currently eligible for vaccination.
"With matric exams just around the corner, I want to encourage as many of our matric learners aged 18 and over to receive the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible in time for their National Senior Certificate examinations," said Schäfer.
"We have seen some positive and informed responses from young adult matrics who have opted to get vaccinated. We hope that other candidates that qualify also take up the opportunity afforded to them."
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