As the social development sector kicks off its vaccination rollout plan on Monday July 19, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has expressed her satisfaction with the first day of vaccination.
Zulu and Acting Health Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, visited the vaccination sites at Tembisa health care centre and Thokoza Progressive (both in Ekurhuleni) to unveil the social development sector vaccination rollout plan, which aims to vaccinate more than 240 000 members of the workforce from 19 July to 23 July 2021.
Zulu said the department has to cater for not only the Early Childhood Development (ECD), but all other social development service professionals because they are also frontline workers.
“We have been working together with the Department of Health from the very beginning. The other issue is about the availability of the vaccines, [as] we needed to make sure that when we start, the vaccine is available. They are now [using the single-dose vaccine]… so they don’t have to come back again,” Zulu said.
The Minister said the process of vaccination is very smooth, from the people who are administering the vaccine, to the process of registration and ensuring that they have the tech tools needed to check the ID number and telephone number of the person vaccinated.
“So far, we haven’t seen any challenges… The ECDs and social service practitioners have their own queue, which is the entire value chain of what they need to do.
“…After having done the vaccination, people sit for 15 minutes just to ensure that they are fine, and if they are not fine, there is an emergency area where they can be taken to,” Zulu said.
Don’t leave your neighbours behind
Kubayi-Ngubane called on community members not to leave their neighbours behind when they go for vaccination, and for young people to also take along people aged 60 years and above.
“Don’t leave your neighbours behind because sometimes others don’t have information about the vaccine, and others don’t know where to go and what to do. The important thing for us is that we must try to make sure that as we get access to this vaccine, let’s make sure we don’t leave our neighbours and families behind,” the acting minister said.
She called on communities to encourage residents, who are reluctant to receive the vaccine, to go to the vaccination sites and speak to the medical teams, who will explain everything to them.
“This will assist us to be able to vaccinate more people. Those who are afraid because they heard that the vaccine is not good, will find nurses from the Department of Health, who will explain everything to them,” the Minister said.
The vaccination rollout plan will include frontline workers in the following categories:
- The ECD workforce: This is inclusive of ECD practitioners and staff, who work in the ECD environment. The Department of Social Development has been working with the ECD Inter-Sectoral Forum to ensure that no-one is left behind, given that ECDs remain open while schools are closed and practitioners are equally at risk of the contracting the virus. This includes all ECDs both registered and unregistered with government, including centre and non-centre-based programmes.
- All social service professionals: This includes all social workers; auxiliary social worker; student social workers, who are currently doing fieldwork; child and youth care workers; child and youth care auxiliary workers and is inclusive of all social service professionals in the public, private and NGO sectors.
- Community Development Practitioners, employed by the Department of Social Development; and
- Frontline staff working in the Department of Social Development across the Republic, including at all Social Development facilities, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), the National Development Agency (NDA), and the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP).