Teachers Remain in Queue for Vaccine
-52 succumbed to the virus by July 5th 2021
Even after efforts by the different Teachers Unions in the country to push for the prioritization in Vaccination of the teaching population, it remains a fighting battle as the government has maintained its position to roll out vaccines as per its plan. Asking at parliament recently, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tati West Simon Moabi enquired whether it is not prudent to prioritise teachers for vaccination in view of the escalating number of infections and deaths across the country to which the minister of Basic Education Fidelis Molao responded that they are on High Alert regarding the effects on the teaching fraternity.
Arguing to the same effect, the MP for Ghanzi South Christian De Graaf ordered for the immediate prioritization and vaccination of teachers explaining that they remain most in contact with all families as they get in contact with more than 30 pupils each day making them a contact of those families.
This however was not politely taken by the Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs Meshack Mthimkhulu of Gaborone South who argued to the government’s roll out plan stating that “vaccine will come an when it does the vaccination of teachers will commence even though they remain at risk like all other essential service providers including security service providers (Police, soldiers) and immigration officers.”
Molao explained that Government has already prioritised teachers, and other frontline workers, for vaccination against Covid-19. He says that there is a plan for roll out even though there are no specific dates for the vaccination of teachers which he notes will be communicated once adequate supply of vaccines has been confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
“In the meantime, I encourage Honourable Members to encourage Teachers aged 55 years and above to get vaccinated in line with the current vaccination programme which is targeted at that age cohort.”
“My Ministry has put in place a number of measures as a way of ensuring schools are safe from COVID-19 and they include the Installation of hand-wash stations at entry and exit points and strategic locations, Temperature screening, Splitting of classrooms to ensure compliance to at least 1 meter social distancing requirement, Engagement of SHE officer, Engagement of temporary teachers, Allowing teachers to work from home and only go to school when they have lessons and other duties as a way of decongesting the work place,” Molao said.
He further responded stating that Staff has been advised to have meetings and public gatherings virtually or to defer those until the Covid-19 situation improves while they have made sure they Conduct regular School Assessment for Covid-19 compliance. He says this process is done in partnership with their key stakeholders including teacher Unions, Ministries of health and wellness and Local Government and Rural Development.
To date the government has received over 150 000 vaccines registered 1188 death and has reported that as at the 2nd of July 2021, 160 196 people have received their first dose and 100 125 have been fully vaccinated. Currently people are urged to keep safe and register to be vaccinated once the procurement process is concluded and keep in check for the processes of vaccine roll out.