1500 teachers get COVID vaccine

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Sherrylyn Toppin

1500 teachers get COVID vaccine
Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw (GP)

About 1 500 teachers received the COVID-19 vaccine and more than half of that amount are scheduled to get the jab on Friday.

And this is one more step in safely reopening schools, while minimising risks to everyone in that environment, said Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw.

She was speaking on Thursday evening during a Ministerial Statement on Education and a media conference in which she announced school would start on a phased basis on April 20, 2021.

Bradshaw said after vaccinations were offered to frontline workers, the invitation was extended to teachers, ancillary staff, principals, Ministry of Education officials and safety monitors.

READ: Phased reopening of school for Trinity Term

“We have expanded this to every single person that will interact in the school environment with our children and we have done so, simply because we are focussed on minimising risks and getting the economy and getting this country also back to working again,” the Minister said.

“As of today (Thursday) we have over 1 500 teachers that have been vaccinated. I believe there is another 800 that is due for vaccination tomorrow (today). We are pretty much over our halfway point getting those teachers vaccinated.

“I believe that over the course of the next few days, and certainly next week, we will see a greater uptake in the number of persons vaccinated.”

Bradshaw said there were some who suggested schools reopen after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but she reiterated it was about reducing the risks.

“We know that the first dose of this vaccine affords us a certain level of protection. We also know that if we were to catch COVID after the first vaccination it would not be as severe as if we did not have the vaccination. We also know that when you get the second vaccination it is supposed to offer you even more protection. It doesn’t guarantee you that you will never get COVID but what it does is it minimises the risks,” she said.

“I’ve had my vaccine and I think most of you know my situation in terms of my own medical issues a year ago. And I did so because I understood that I had to lead by example, as have all of my colleagues. We are back on the job,” Bradshaw added.

There were reports that teachers were lukewarm about the vaccines, and the Minister said after meeting with their unions, there was concern about some of the information in the public domain on the COVID-19 vaccines.

The Ministry of Education arranged a forum for teachers and medical practitioners where the former were able to ask questions about the vaccine, the myths and MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children), a life-threatening illness among children liked to COVID-19.

In the question and answer segment, Bradshaw said the positivity rate was very low, even among children and “therefore does not present the alarm that some are trying to create in the public domain”.

Children in Class 3 and 4 at primary school and Forms 5 and 6 at secondary will be the first in school, but more will return once the positivity rate continued to fall. (SAT)