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Covid-19 Vaccines Will Not Be Rolled Out At Schools, Yet

Department of Education Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga visiting a school

This week children between the ages of 12 and 17 became eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The majority of this age group are school learners and this has raised the question about administering vaccinations at schools.

Department of Education spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga says they are opposed to the idea as it would cause further disruptions to the school year. He says that they also want to ensure that the matric exams go smoothly and that new students would have to take off due to side effects from receiving the vaccine.

He said, “we are trying to ensure that they continue with their examinations without any disruptions because if you cannot write one paper you will have to write that paper next year and we don't believe that is the wish of most, if not all of our candidates”.

Grade 12 examinations were moved to ensure that schools can be used as polling stations in the upcoming 2021 local government elections.

Mhlanga says that this sentiment does not change the department's stance on vaccination. The department supports vaccination, however cautions matriculants against the timing.

He said, “they might as well still go to get a vaccination once they're done writing the examination because the vaccination program will still be there. We are advising them that they need to think, do your research if you have the time to do that. We encourage you very strongly that you need to get the vaccine but if you can wait until you're done with your exams do so“.

“The position is that all eligible young people must go get the vaccine except that now we are at exam and assessment time for all our learners in the education system. That's why the vaccination is not being done in schools because of the logistics involved in putting together an arrangement of that magnitude” explained Mhlanga. He does however admit that schools will be an ideal location for children to be vaccinated.

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