NATIONAL NEWS - The National Department of Health (DoH) says it is ready to start vaccinating all staff at the Department of Basic Education, teachers and administrative and support staff irrespective of their age from next week.
Technical Advisor Dr Aquina Thulare was briefing Parliament’s portfolio committee on health on Thursday.
A batch of 300,000 Covid-19 J&J vaccines is expected to arrive in the country on Friday afternoon.
The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared this batch safe for use in the country, following a decision by the FDA to halt the use of millions of vaccines due to possible contamination of their ingredients at a Baltimore, US plant.
Because of this, 2 million vaccine doses that had already been produced from the Gqeberha plant were declared unusable.
Thulare said the school governing body (SGB) databases have been verified and also private school databases.
She added that vaccination centres had also been identified.
She said that the department aimed to vaccinate 300,000 education sector staff out of the 499,000 in just 10 working days including possibly one weekend.
She said the 199,000 remaining staff would be inoculated with a additional 1.2 million J&J vaccines arriving next week.
“We believe all the educators will be covered,” she said.
Thulare said that the vaccine expiry date had been extended by four weeks, making it unlikely any vaccine would need to be destroyed.
“The FDA did some stability studies on the vaccines they were going to supply to us and the expiry date has been extended by four weeks from the initial date.”
She said the DoH was in discussions with other sectors, including the South African Police Service, South African National Defence Force and Correctional Services.