Teachers and staff in South African schools will start receiving their Covid-19 jabs on Wednesday 23 June in a two-week push to administer 582,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.
The second phase of South Africa’s vaccine rollout will extend to teachers, cleaners, food handlers and other school staff members who have been categorised as essential workers and prioritised for jabs.
The rollout to the education sector will start with 300,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, with a further 282,000 arriving before the end of June. This specialised rollout, detailed by the department of basic education on Saturday, will be managed by provincial authorities.
Staff don’t need to self-register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) and will instead have their details – obtained via the Personal and Salary System (PERSAL) – uploaded by provincial school management teams.
While the rollout targets all teachers and School Governing Body (SGB) personnel in both public and private schools, the minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, said staff with the following criteria would not qualify for vaccination:
The vaccination drive is expected to be completed by 8 July – the day before schools close for the mid-year break – and will need to rollout at an average rate of around 42,000 doses administered daily.
A total of 281 vaccination sites will be setup to accommodate teachers and school staff, with most provinces using fixed locations. KwaZulu-Natal has the largest share of fixed vaccination sites. The Eastern Cape and Free State will use a hybrid model which includes mobile sites reaching rural areas.
Limpopo, which is leading the country’s vaccination drive, is expected to use dedicated time-based sites which will have all sites in the province exclusively accommodating employees in the education sector. The province is aiming to have all of its 49,000 school staff vaccinated in just 3 days.
“We are asking that teachers make their own transport arrangements to get to these sites but we’re also saying to schools that when it is difficult to access these sites on their own that they make a plan to ensure those teachers get to those sites,” explained the department’s acting director general, Dr Granville Whittle.
South Africa’s leading e-hailing service, Uber, has already offered 100,000 free rides to get teachers to and from vaccination sites, according to Whittle.
“These will obviously be made available in the metros and we’re hoping to make a further announcement about the details of that particular process.”
Uber operates in all of South Africa’s major cities, with consistent services in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Gqeberha. Uber, in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), previously announced that it would offer 1 million free rides to vaccination sites around the world.
Teachers arriving at vaccination sites in South Africa will need to present their ID documents, medical aid details (if they belong to a scheme), and contact details.
(Compiled by Luke Daniel)