MEC Debbie Schäfer on vaccination of matric learners

With matric exams just around the corner, I want to encourage as many of our matric learners aged 18 and over to receive the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible in time for their National Senior Certificate examinations.

Some of our learners have already been vaccinated, and I thank the schools that have already taken the initiative to communicate, inform and encourage vaccination. We have seen some positive and informed responses from young adult matrics who have opted to get vaccinated. We hope that other candidates that qualify, also take up the opportunity afforded to them.

For those that haven’t yet, the WCED has made it easier for eligible learners who wish to be vaccinated to get their vaccine quickly and efficiently. We are again being assisted by the provincial Department of Health (DoH) to make specific arrangements to prioritise our learners at specific vaccination sites. Our departments have experience with arranging such slots cooperatively as a result of the basic education sector staff rollout earlier this year.

A letter from the Head of Department outlining the process was sent to schools last week explaining how schools can assist consenting matric learners to get vaccinated. Schools are to submit names and consent to the district, which will then arrange a timeslot for learners, accompanied by a school representative (teacher or staff member) at a vaccination site. Transport is also being arranged by the district to accommodate needs.

I would like to thank the DoH for their continued support, and the health workers of our province who have tirelessly fought this pandemic with professionalism and kindness.

Learners who have already taken up the opportunity emphasised the importance of getting the vaccine to ensure they don’t miss their matric exams:

“I decided to take the vaccine because I know I stand a better chance at surviving should I get the virus.” – Tiffany April, Ravensmead Senior Secondary School.

“I decided to get vaccinated because I have seen a lot of people who have been infected by COVID-19 and some of them succumbed to the virus. It’s important that I take the vaccine especially because I am in my matric year. I cannot afford not to go to school as this is an essential time in my school life.” - Likho Joja, Fairdale High School

“Getting the vaccine is the best solution to ensure that you are protected from the virus. I am scared that I might be infected by COVID-19 and miss some of my final exam papers. Getting the vaccine is the best option for me right now.” - Yonda Mzamo, Fairdale High School

“Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is very important for us doing matric this year as we will be writing the NSC exams later this year. We need to ensure that we protect ourselves in order to complete our matric year this year.” - Zinathi Mqombothi, Fairdale High School

These are wise and informed decisions made by the youth of our province. They know the importance of the vaccine, how it can benefit them, their friends and families, and their performance in the NSC. I sincerely hope others follow suit!

I encourage every eligible learner that qualifies in the Western Cape to register for the vaccine. We have less than seven weeks to go before they begin writing their examinations. Time is critical if they are to give themselves the best chance at being healthy during this period.

Vaccines really are the only way we are going to find our way back to some semblance of normality in our sector, and our society. It definitely adds another layer of protection for our learners who have worked so hard up until this point.

Source: Government of South Africa