With the country’s low vaccination rate, a vaccine rollout campaign targeted at Gauteng schools has struck up in order to motivate school-goers to get the jab.
The vaccination rollout campaign, embarked on by the Department of Basic Education, has targeted 12-17 year-olds in particular. This follows concerns of a potential fourth wave after the detection of the new omicron variant in the country.
Spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga, spoke to Newsroom Afrika concerning this campaign and what government aims to achieve through its efforts. It is said that a consent form has been issued to parents and guardians of school-goers.
The aim of the consent form is to receive parents/guardians’ signatures as an indication of consent for their children to receive their vaccine dose. The parents’ signatures would act as an acknowledgement of the potential for their children to get the jab.
In the interview, Mhlanga further notes that he would like this campaign to also incite conversations between parents and children about the vaccine, and hopefully give parents the opportunity to express their support for their children receiving their vaccine dose.
Mhlanga then goes on to state the following: “We expect that these people [who are] hesitant will work with us to make sure that as many of us are vaccinated”.
However, speaking in regards to those who have expressed relative skepticism, he expresses disappointment in the likes of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and others who have taken the Department of Health to court over their promotion of vaccination.
About this matter, he says: “…it shouldn’t have gone there, it’s everyone’s business that we protect each other”. Nonetheless, he states that he expects that a large number of students will be vaccinated.
However, when it comes to a full capacity return to in-person learning, Mhlanga says that “it looks like the situation is getting more complicated” in light of recent developments such as the omicron variant, which has caused an unexpected rise in Covid-19 cases.