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45+ or not, teachers want to be included in vaccine drive so ‘we can safely open schools’

India’s new vaccination phase began Thursday, paving way for all persons above 45 years to get vaccinated. Teachers across the country seek inclusion in this drive.

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New Delhi: Calls are getting louder for vaccination of teachers irrespective of their age, as the country entered its third phase of Covid-19 vaccination.

In the new vaccination phase that began Thursday, all persons above the age of 45 are eligible to be vaccinated. This, however, will leave out a large chunk of school teachers, many of whom are in the age group of 25-40.

This has prompted private schools, state teachers associations and other bodies to reach out to the government to prioritise vaccination for teachers.

There has been no official communication on the issue from either the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare or the Ministry of Education (MoE) so far. A health ministry official, however, told ThePrint that the government is “considering all proposals” for expanding the scope of vaccination.

“We have received requests for inclusion in the ongoing vaccination drive from several quarters of educational institutes including schools. Apart from schools, other sectors have also requested inclusion in the beneficiary pool such as pharma companies’ employees,” said the official who didn’t wish to be named.

“We are considering all these proposals and an announcement will be made soon as more vaccine candidates are included into the available bouquet of vaccines,” the official added.

ThePrint reached the MoE via texts and calls for a comment on the issue but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.

ThePrint also reached PIB’s health arm via an email for an official comment but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.

A source in the MoE said, “Some states have been individually writing to their respective governments to prioritise vaccination for teachers. Schools have also been reaching out individually to the health ministry. Otherwise, bodies like CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), KVS (Kendriya Vidyalayas) and NVS (Navodaya Vidyalayas) will have to make a case for their respective teachers. This is how it can be done.”


Also read: 1,000 cases in 7 states: How schools, colleges emerged as Covid clusters after reopening


This is how ‘we can safely open schools’

The Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI), a body that represents 2,500 speciality and 8,000 smaller hospitals across India, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week asking the government to fast track the Covid-19 vaccination.

It also requested the government to open up the vaccine through open market so that educational institutions, hotels, banks, corporates and others are able to operate with safety.

“Children of up to 16 years of age are not recommended for vaccination. In such a case if teachers of schools up to 10 standard are vaccinated, we can safely open the schools,” AHPI director general Girdhar J. Gyani told ThePrint.

Ashok Pandey, director, Ahlchon Group of Schools in Delhi told ThePrint that many private schools including his school have written to the authorities requesting for vaccination of teachers in all age groups.

“A number of private schools have reached out to the government to request for vaccination for all teachers irrespective of the age group. Teachers should totally get vaccinated because they have been coming to schools even when the students aren’t. If we vaccinate the teachers then it will be easier for us to reopen the schools because the teachers can act like barriers,” he said.

“I strongly believe in vaccination for teachers till the time there is no vaccination for kids,” he added.


Also read: With tweets, memes & online plea, DU students start social media campaign to reopen colleges


Demands raised since December

Teachers in Maharashtra had raised the issue in December 2020 itself and requested the government to prioritise vaccination for teachers and students. Last month, a body representing municipal school teachers in Vijayawada, had appealed to the government to administer Covid vaccine to teachers and students.

A number of teachers ThePrint spoke to, also agreed with the calls.

“If the CBSE board wishes to conduct board examinations from the first week of May, by first week of April all teachers who are proposed to be invigilators for these examinations should be vaccinated at least with first dosage. So that by mid-May they will receive the second dose,” said P. Vamsi Krishna, Principal, Delhi Public School, Surat.

“Anyway there is no vaccine as on date for children below age 18 years. By vaccinating teachers, schools can move forward with teachers coming to school campus for conducting on campus classes with half the student strength in each class. This is the only way psychological health of children and parents and families can also be regained,” he added.

A teacher at Chirec International School, Hyderabad, agreed too. “I strongly believe that teachers should get vaccinated because they are physically at school. Even when students are not being called teachers have to go for various things, like checking answer sheets, assignments and other clerical work,” said the teacher who didn’t wish to be named.

Another teacher at the school concurred. “Yes, teachers should totally get vaccinated, so that they do not become carriers.”


Also read: IITs tell govt it’s difficult to offer degrees in regional language, NITs more open to idea


 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Please give vaccination for teachers on priority as we are going to school daily. We are also forced to meet many parents and students. And also we have to do invigilation for board exams which is starting from last week of April. Please consider us teachers as frontline workers too.

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