Concern over low uptake of vaccine by teachers
By Augustine Oduor | April 11th 2021
There is growing concern in the education sector as only 52,420 teachers have been vaccinated.
Data from the Ministry of Health shows that by Thursday, just about half of the number targeted had been vaccinated.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said about 110,000 teachers had been identified to be given priority in the vaccination drive.
The teachers’ employer said the identified staff were 50 years and above as had been advised by the Ministry of Health.
Of these, TSC said 92,850 teach in public schools, while 16,500 who fall under the high-risk category teach in private and international schools.
The targeted number of teachers in the first phase of the vaccination exercise is just a fraction of the total number of tutors in Kenyan schools.
There are 330,671 teachers working in public schools and 158,000 in private schools.
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Overall, vaccination data shows that some 104,726 health workers have been vaccinated against a total population of 208,418.
Some 30,821 security officers had also been vaccinated by end of Thursday. Also vaccinated are some 190,396 persons aged 60 years and above.
What is of greatest concern to the education sector is the slow uptake of the vaccine by teachers, which now puts the fate of schools opening into question.
Safety of teachers will be a key determinant in the reopening plans for in-person teaching as it emerged that they are the most vulnerable groups in the school set-up who urgently need the vaccine.
Basic Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan pleaded with teachers to go for the vaccine. He said vaccination was one of the strong foundations of reopening schools as teachers would be assured of their safety.
“Teachers who will not have been vaccinated will be exposing themselves,” Jwan said. The PS, however, assured Kenyans that schools will reopen as planned.
“We shall be consulting the Ministry of Health and higher authorities on this matter,” said Jwan.
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