Government has revealed that teachers will be vaccinated this month.
In an exclusive interview with this publication, Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness Sethomo Lelatisitswe indicated that government has identified the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as the best to vaccinate teachers this month.
Government has been under pressure to vaccinate teachers given the rising cases of COVID-19 which has so far killed over 50 teachers since last year.
Lelatisitswe said they are expecting the J & J vaccine to arrive this month, adding that discussions have been focused on identifying a vaccine to vaccinate teachers.
“We are expecting the vaccine for teachers to arrive this month and one thing is that government has been thinking of using the J & J vaccine to inoculate teachers”
“As you know, government has been rolling out vaccine to inoculate elders, so we are also aware that some elders within the teaching fraternity have received their jabs, so this has reduced the amount of workload” said Lelatisitswe.
He further said it is urgent to ensure that teachers are vaccinated, adding that failure to do so could weigh heavily on the health system.
Recently President Mokgweetsi Masisi revealed that the country’s teachers and other frontliners will be vaccinated as a priority.
In his address during the commemoration of the National Teachers’ Day held virtually, Masisi said he recognizes the enormous pressure that teachers in Botswana are operating under during this unprecedented and uncertain period of COVID-19.
Due to limited internet connectivity in many schools across the country, Masisi said teachers are in enormous pressure since they are expected to provide face-to-face teaching and monitor learners to ensure that they follow the COVID-19 health protocols.
With a view aimed at mitigating the threat posed by COVID-19, measures were undertaken to reduce class sizes, engage temporary teachers and employing Safety Health and Environment officers in all public schools, he said.
“My government will roll-out a successful and timely vaccination program to curb the impact of the disease on our people including yourselves – teachers,” said Masisi before thanking all teachers and support staff for their efforts and personal sacrifice which saved Botswana’s 2020 academic year.
Masisi described teachers as the frontliners who are playing an important role in the prevention of the COVID-19 transmission. On the other hand, unions have also been piling pressure on government to vaccinate teachers, with BTU recently threatening court action.