Government has finally conceded to pressure from teacher unions to prioritise vaccination of teachers ahead of re-opening of schools.
As of last week various District Health Management Teams (DHMT) had started mass vaccination of teachers as they prepare for re-opening of schools which is expected to take place on August 31st for completing classes including standard 7, forms 3, 5 and 6. The rest of the classes are to open the following week on September 7th.
“We are happy that the pressure we have put brought positive results. The No vaccine No class campaign has helped and this morning we had a meeting with the ministry at which we were informed about the roll out strategy,” explained Secretary General of Botswana Sector of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU), Tobokani Rari.
In a brief interview, Rari encouraged teachers to use the opportunity to take the jab that would reduce their risk of contracting the deadly corona virus (COVID-19) which has so far killed 116 teachers.
“The numbers could be more, because we have only recorded those who are union members,” explained Rari before adding that, “The government has since yielded to our position. So as unions we have achieved what we fought for and therefore have played our part, so I can only encourage the teachers to go to vaccination centres and take the vaccine.”
Rari further noted that teachers are more vulnerable as they work with a very difficult crowd to control; students.
The roll out has been left to DHMT who have since selected mostly schools as vaccination centres for teachers with scheduled dates.
With other vaccines requiring second dose, Johnson & Johnson is said to be used in most centres because it is only taken once.
“I am not very sure of the vaccine that will be used but yesterday at Shoshong, they were using Johnson&Johnson.”
Schools were abruptly closed last month as the country battled with its deadliest Covid-19 wave.
Health officials have however indicated that the current wave may go down by the end of this month, August 2021 which will be marking the end of the cold winter weather.