Vaccination of teachers against Covid-19 begins

Mass vaccination of teachers against Covid-19 around the country starts today, with the official launch at the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) headquarters in Nairobi.

Ministry of Health officials and TSC senior staff will take part in the exercise.

The vaccination drive comes two weeks to the start of the national examinations, which will be administered by more than 200,000 teachers.

Representatives of the Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kepsha) and the Kenya Secondary School Heads Associations will witness the exercise.

When the government announced plans to roll out vaccination, Kepsha chairman Johnson Nzioka proposed that old teachers and those with underlying conditions be given priority.

In a previous interview, Mr Nzioka said Kepsha had lost members to the coronavirus that has continued to ravage the education sector and the country at large.

He said there were 30,000 managers who should be next in line, arguing that the heads interact with teachers and other stakeholders such as parents, suppliers and random members of the school community.

In the event the government did not have sufficient vaccines for the 350,000 teachers in the country, the association proposes phased approach would be effective, with proper mapping out of high risk staff.

As of November 2020, public schools had 25,000 teachers aged 58 and above.

In line with the government’s Covid-19 management plan, most of these teachers indicated readiness to work from home from January 2021.

An additional 12,000 are above 59 and therefore due to retire by June 30, 2021.

The roll-out of the mass vaccination is timed to coincide with the start of secondary and primary school leaving examinations.

“The congestion that occurs at the containers during collection and drop-off of examination materials poses a high infection risk for teachers and vaccination will help build teachers’ confidence,” said Nzioka.

Some 1,088,986 candidates will sit KCPE, while another 699,745 will sit KCPE exams.

The exams were moved from the traditional October-November period to March-April after lengthy school closures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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