Western Cape schools to be used as Covid-19 vaccination sites for pupils

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Pupils line up to get a temperature check at Monde Primary School in Ekurhuleni.
Pupils line up to get a temperature check at Monde Primary School in Ekurhuleni.
PHOTO: Laird Forbes, Gallo Images
  • Western Cape schools will become vaccination sites for pupils aged 12 and older.
  • The programme is part of a drive by the national health department to encourage the youth to get vaccinated.
  • Only 11% of eligible children are fully vaccinated in South Africa.

Western Cape schools are set to roll out Covid-19 vaccinations to pupils aged 12 and older, as part of a national programme focusing on schools.

In a letter to parents, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) said it had been informed by the Department of Basic Education that "all public schools will be utilised as Covid-19 vaccination sites for all learners of 12 years and older".

Parental consent will be required prior to pupils being vaccinated at schools, in line with the procedures of the Integrated School Health Programme. Pupils who wish to be vaccinated without the required parental consent will need to visit a routine Covid-19 vaccination site.

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Nationally, more than 2.5 million vaccines have been administered to those in the 12 to 17 age group. There are 6.2 million children that fall into this age group, but only 11% of them have been fully vaccinated.

National health department spokesperson Foster Mohale said the department, in collaboration with the basic education and social development departments, is taking vaccination services to schools as part of an integrated school health programme "to enable eligible learners to conveniently receive this life-saving vaccination against [the] life-threatening Covid-19 pandemic".

Mohale said:

This will benefit both the school environment and the programme, and mitigate the transmission of the virus between learners as they spend most of the time together.

He added that the provinces had different schedules for the roll out of the programme.

Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga referred News24 to the national health department, saying the vaccination programme is managed by the health department.

The WCED referred News24 to the Western Cape Department of Health.

Western Cape health department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said the programme would aim to reach around half a million children.

Of the 643 117 persons aged 12 to 17 in the Western Cape, only around 22% have received at least one dose - less than the national average of around 30%.

Van der Heever added that the department is still putting plans in place for the vaccination programme.

"Our biggest weapon remains vaccination. We still require a big [effort by] society to continue to generate increased targeted demand for unvaccinated persons and for the take up of boosters for vaccinated persons. Vaccination remains voluntary [and] parental consent is required for vaccinations to be administered at schools," he said.

If you come across Covid-19 vaccination information that you do not trust, read Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked: Get the facts here. If you can't find the facts you're looking for, email us at the address mentioned in the article and we will verify the information with medical professionals.

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