UN says teachers should be in the priority vaccination group

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Manuel de Almeida / Lusa

Teachers and school staff should be in the priority group of vaccination campaigns against covid-19, said on Monday the European directors of the World Health Organization and UNICEF, the UN organization for children, in a joint statement .

We must “offer the covid-19 vaccine to teachers and other school officials as a target group of national immunization plans,” UN institutions wrote in the note, calling on member states to implement a immunization strategy aimed at maintaining face-to-face education.

This priority, which had already been mentioned in November 2020 by a group of experts (SAGE) of the World Health Organization (WHO), should guarantee vaccination for the most vulnerable, they specified.

At a time when European pupils return to school after the summer break, it is “vital” that schools remain open, despite the prevalence of the more contagious delta variant.

“This is from extreme importance for education, mental health and social life of children. Schools must help empower our children to be happy and productive members of society,” said WHO Director for Europe, Hans Kluge.

“The pandemic caused the most catastrophic disruption in the history of education,” Kluge said.

To keep schools open, WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are calling for the immunization of children over 12 with comorbidities and improvements in the school environment (ventilation, physical distance, regular screening of students and supervisory teams).

According to the recommendations published in early July, the tests “should be carried out as a priority in children with symptoms” when they belong to a risk group.