IFP: Call to prioritise vaccine for social workers

The IFP calls upon the KZN MEC for Social Development, Nonhlanhla Khoza, to break her silence on when social workers will be vaccinated.

During the Virtual Media Briefing on Alert Level 4 of the Risk-Adjustment Strategy, the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, announced that negotiations are at an advanced stage with the Department of Health, to ensure the inclusion of the social sector’s frontline workers as a priority group for vaccination.

What is perplexing, is the silence by the KZN MEC for Social Development on this matter. She has not yet said anything about the plans that are in place as a province for vaccinating social workers. She has not even said whether she has held discussions with her counterpart, the KZN MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, on the prioritisation and inclusion of social workers in the vaccination programme. The IFP expects the MEC to tell the public when and how the vaccination of social workers will be rolled out.

We are calling for social workers – and all social work staff – to be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine as it is rolled out in KwaZulu-Natal, and nationwide.

Economic stress on families may heighten the need for welfare support, while social isolation may increase tension at home, cause anxiety, and put children at higher risk of violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Vaccinating social workers will allow them to carry on with their duties in delivering crucial services for children, such as welfare and protection services.

In addition, there are families who refuse to wear masks. When social workers are assigned cases, they now also have to weigh the risk of harm – between the children and family members and themselves – when a family is not following Covid-19 prevention measures. The IFP believes that extensive vaccination against Covid-19 will greatly reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Further, the IFP is aware that no vaccine provides 100% protection. Nevertheless, vaccination is an effective way for individuals to protect themselves and those around them as much as possible.

Hon. Les Govender, MPL
KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Social Development
083 974 4894