Teacher’s union Suid Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU) in the Northern Cape has raised concerns with the number of teachers and support staff in the Education Department who have not vaccinated.
In the province, more than 300 000 workers in the education system including teachers did not get inoculated during the three weeks’ vaccine roll-out program.
Out of the anticipated number of more than 14 000 the provincial education department only vaccinated at least 11 000 teachers and support staff.
The Northern Cape Department of Education was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the video below, the Northern Cape government outlines its vaccination plans:
In May, the department recorded at least 41 fatalities due to COVID-19 related complications.
Some three hundred schools were also affected. Teacher’s union SAOU believes this alone should be motivation to take the COVID-19 jab.
SAOU Provincial Secretary says, “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.”
The union says the glitches during the vaccine roll-out program should not be overlooked.
“The three weeks that the department set aside for its employees to be vaccinated was in conjunction with the Department of Health which could not always deliver. So, there were logistical problems that also prohibited (teachers) to get vaccinated.”
The Provincial Department of Education has given reasons for the more than 3000 who did not vaccinate.
Northern Cape Department of Education Spokesperson Lehuma Ntuane says, “In the 3000 plus, who were not vaccinated, most of them are those who were on special leave, medical leave, maternity leave. There are those who tested positive for COVID-19 (and) as a result they could not get vaccinated.”
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.