The Limpopo Department of Health is confident that it will vaccinate over 38 000 education sector staff against COVID-19 on Friday and Saturday. The department expects to receive the Johnson and Johnson doses on Wednesday.

A second batch of 10 000 doses is expected to arrive next week.

The Limpopo Health Department is confident that by Saturday, 38 400 qualifying education sector employees in the province would have been vaccinated. Health MEC, doctor Phophi Ramathuba says their 37 vaccination sites will on Friday and Saturday be administering the vaccines to the education staffers.  Ramathuba says they do not want any disruptions to the ongoing vaccination programme of the elderly which happens from Monday to Thursday at all sites.

“We met with the Department of Education and indicated to them how we plan to roll out the vaccination programme. We have allocated Friday, which is not the day of vaccinating people above 60. We have given them Friday and Saturday, we will be able to complete the 38 400 doses of Johnson and Johnson which we are expecting to receive either tomorrow if not later today.”

Calls for pupils to be vaccinated as well

Meanwhile, education authorities have raised concerns over the number of learners and teachers who have contracted the COVID-19 in the Capricorn and Waterberg districts.

Cosas’s Skhalo Mahladisa, says the learners’ organisation will shut schools down if learners and other stakeholders that interact with teachers are not included in the vaccination programme.

“We want a vaccination process which will be inclusive of learners, of scholar transport drivers. We want a vaccination process which will be inclusive of scholar transport those which have been hired by parents, our sisters grannies and mothers selling atchar there at the gate. If they want the vaccination process to start we want to see learners being vaccinated if they are not going to be vaccinated it will lead to Cosas closing schools because these people do not care about the lives of learners. They only want to vaccinate teachers because they are scared of teacher unions, we are not going to play politics here,” says Mahladisa.

Increase in infections among learners

Education authorities say the Waterberg and Capricorn District have been reporting an increase in new infection.  Fifty-three learners have tested positive for COVID-19 at Marobathota high at Boyne outside Polokwane.

Six learners have also tested positive at Noordeland high in Polokwane.  Six teachers at Selelo primary school in Senwabarwana are also COVID-19 positive. Learners in the Boyne area want schools to close permanently until the infection rate stabilise.

“I’m a learner in the Viking area, it scares us when neighbouring schools close due to confirmed case but we are still going to school, what if we get infected too. I wish schools would close until it is under control.”

“I live in fear since there are confirmed cases in the area and most of my classmates don’t even wear their masks, and the virus is dangerous,” says another learner.

Education spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene says they are still in the process of finalising their vaccination plan and will only communicate with the media once the plan is final.

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