Uncertainty over learners’ vaxxing

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A child receiving a jab

By Seleoe Nonyane

The ministry of education and training is non-committal about whether learners who have not received a Covid-19 vaccine will be turned away from school or not.

This after schools started reopening for the 2022 academic year in the first week of January, after the publishing of the Public Health (Covid-19) (Risk Determination and Mitigation Measures) (Amendment) (No 4) Regulations, 2021 which came into effect on January 1 2022.

According to the regulations, “a person who … is identified under a category of persons who are required to be vaccinated …shall not engage in work, perform duties, provide or acquire services at any institution or place of work, study and business, unless the person has received at last one dose of approved Covid-19 vaccine; or has received or has evidence of a booking to receive a second dose of the approved Covid-19 vaccine within two months of the first dose.”

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The regulations add that a parent or guardian of a child aged between 12 to 17 years shall ensure that the child is vaccinated.

In an interview with theReporter on Monday amid the apparent lack of clarity of the fate of learners, the principal secretary of basic education Dr Lira Khama, could not be drawn proclaiming the ministry’s position on the matter.  

“Let us not jump the gun; it is still too early to be making speculations of assumptions regarding learners’ schooling programme. We are waiting for the ministry of health’s advice on the way forward.

“It is important to note that laws are not meant to scare people or cause public panic. This is a matter of public health. The children in that age category are minors who require their parents’ consent to be vaccinated.”