The Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie ( SAOU) in the Northern Cape has raised concerns about the number of teachers and educational support staff who have not been vaccinated.

More than 3 000 workers in the provincial education system did not get inoculated during the three-week vaccine rollout programme.

The education department has only vaccinated about 11 000 teachers and support staff, out of the anticipated number of more than 14 000.

The Northern Cape Department of Education was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May – the department recorded at least 41  fatalities due to COVID-19 related complications.

Some 300 schools were also affected.

SAOU believes this alone should be motivation to take the COVID-19 shot.

“We have to respect those who do not want to vaccinate for valid reasons. If the reasons for not being vaccinate are a bit suspicious, we cannot support that. We think it is necessary, we think it is your duty as a teacher to get vaccinated and at least set an example for the society at large,” says SAOU  provincial secretary, Henk Brand.

The union says the glitches during the vaccine rollout programme should not be overlooked.

However, the Provincial Department of Education has given explanations for the more than 3 000 teachers and staff who were not vaccinated.

“In the 3000 plus who were not vaccinated, most of them are those who were on special leave, medical leave, maternity leave etc.  There are those who tested positive for COVID-19 as a result they could not get vaccinated,” says Northern Cape Education Department spokesperson, Lehuma Ntuane.

The department says taking the jab will minimise the closure of schools due to COVID-19 infections and assist in teaching and learning returning to normal.

In the video below, the Northern Cape government outlines its vaccination plans: