36 teachers have so far succumbed to the virus,15 of them being school principals
- CS Kagwe announced people will not be able to pay to jump the vaccination queue until the government concludes the first phase of its public programme.
- TSC Register indicates that Kenya has 360,000 school teachers, the majority (211,046) in primary schools.
Teachers will be among the first Kenyans to take the Covid-19 vaccine early in 2021 according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the United Nations Children’s’ Fund (UNICEF).
Educators should be prioritised due to the of their huge risk of exposure and to limit the interference of classes, MoH and Unicef said.
Records from the teachers’ medical insurance scheme AON MINET indicate that Covid-19 had killed 36 teachers by the end of November. 15 of the 36 teachers were school principals.
Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe affirmed that teachers and police officers will be prioritised.
Also among the first people to be vaccinated will people with health conditions, health workers and the elderly.
“The hallmark of a successful vaccination campaign is that the government must vaccinate as many people as possible,” Kagwe said.
CS Kagwe announced people will not be able to pay to jump the vaccination queue until the government concludes the first phase of its public programme.
Unicef independently said educators must be among the first category of people to be vaccinated since all classes reopen on the 4th of January next year.
“Unicef is calling for teachers to be prioritised to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, once frontline health personnel and high-risk populations are vaccinated. This will help protect teachers from the virus, allow them to teach in person, and ultimately keep schools open,” Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore said in a statement.
“While decisions about vaccine allocation ultimately rest with governments, the consequences of extended missed or impaired education are steep, especially for the most marginalised. The longer children remain out of school, the less likely they are to return, and the more difficult it is for their parents to resume work.”
Unicef protests the stretched closure of schools.
“There continues to be an unsupported assumption that closing schools may slow the spread of the disease, despite increasing evidence that schools are not the main driver of community transmission,” the Unicef boss said.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Register indicates that Kenya has 360,000 school teachers, the majority (211,046) in primary schools. Another 26,813 teachers are employed by the schools’ Boards of Management (BOM) according to TSC boss Dr Nancy Macharia.
Early in September, the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation recommended guidelines on which groups to prioritise for vaccination while quantity is inadequate.
The framework guides countries to prioritise health workers and healthy non-medical persons such as teachers who are directly engaged in the Covid-19 response.
“School closures have not only resulted in significant setbacks in learning for over 1.5 billion young people worldwide, but they have also undermined their socio-emotional development, and in many cases their physical health and safety,” World Health Organization said.