Rural matrics and agri students urged to vax up

After almost two years of disruption in schools and universities, authorities in the Western Cape are hopeful that vaccines will help the education sector find its way back to some semblance of normality

Not to be Missed

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With less than seven weeks to go before matrics start writing exams, agricultural students and matric learners in rural communities are being urged to get vaccinated.

The Western Cape department of education says it wants to encourage eligible Grade 12 learners (18 years and older) to get the jab in time for their national senior certificate examinations.

According to education MEC Debbie Schäfer several learners have already taken the “wise and informed” decision to get vaxxed. However, she hopes that more learners will follow suit.

“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,” says Schäfer.

Rural learners must take advantage

Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape minister of agriculture, says he also encourages those who have not been vaccinated to register on the electronic vaccine data system.

MEC for education in the Western Cape department of education, Debbie Schäfer. Photo: Supplied/Western Cape Education Department
Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

“I encourage those agricultural students and matric learners residing in rural communities to take advantage of your vaccine opportunity. Doing so will not only protect yourself, but also those around you who might be at higher risk,” Meyer says.

Pointing to an analysis conducted by the provincial department of health, the agricultural minister explains that getting the jab is important.

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He says that during the week of 14 to 20 August, when the province was in the peak of its third wave, 96% of those over 60 years who were hospitalised were not fully vaccinated. Furthermore, 98.3% of those who died were also not fully vaccinated.

“We know that vaccines are safe and highly effective in preventing serious illness and death.”

ALSO READ: Didiza pleads with ‘TikTok brigade’ to get Covid-19 jab

Setting an example

With exams around the corner, matrics who are already vaccinated say they wanted to ensure they don’t miss their exams.

Likho Joja from Fairdale High School in Blue Downs says she decided to get vaccinated because she personally knows many people who contracted Covid-19 and later 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.”

Dr Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape minister of agriculture. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi
Western Cape minister of agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Another learner from the school, Yonda Mzamo, also made the decision to get jabbed. “[This will] 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.”

MEC Schäfer adds that this is a critical time for matric learners and that they should be at their healthiest during this period.

Vaccines, she states, are the only way the education sector will find its way back to some semblance of normality.

“It definitely adds another layer of protection for our learners who have worked so hard up until this point.”

ALSO READ: Fighting ‘vax holdout’ among farmworkers to save lives

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