THE head of the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, today called for teachers to be among those given priority access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Disclosing this in a statement today, UNICEF Chief, Henrietta Fore said teachers should fall in line of priority after health personnel and high-risk populations are vaccinated.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on children’s education around the globe. Vaccinating teachers is a critical step towards putting it back on track.” Fore said.
Teachers should be “prioritised to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, once frontline health personnel and high-risk populations are vaccinated,” she said.
“This will help protect teachers from the virus, allow them to teach in person, and ultimately keep schools open.”
According to UNICEF, at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in April, school closures disrupted the learning of almost 90 per cent of students worldwide.
UNICEF emphasised that if schools are the main driver of community transmission, it is unfortunate that classes currently remain closed for nearly one in five schoolchildren globally or 320 million children.
We must do everything in our power to safeguard the future of the next generation. This begins by safeguarding those responsible for opening that future up for them.
“The consequences of extended, missed or impaired education are steep, especially for the most marginalised.”
She noted that 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.