VIJAYAWADA: As the Andhra Pradesh government is all set to reopen its schools for 2020-21 academic year from August 16, out of nearly 1.65 lakh teachers, only about 20 percent of them got second dose of Covid-19 vaccine, causing concern over the risk of spread of the virus to teachers, students and other stakeholders in the state.
There exist nearly 45,000 government schools with about 43 lakh students pursuing education from primary to high school classes. As the state government administered Covid jab on priority basis initially to healthcare workers, frontline workers and people aged above 45 years and other categories, some government teachers aged above 45 years managed to get the jab while others missed out.
The government teachers claimed that nearly 95 percent of them got the first dose of the vaccine while about 20 percent of them got the second dose. Some of the main reasons attributed to not getting the second shot are denial of their plea to consider them as frontline workers to give jab on priority, revised gap of 84 days from the first dose to the second for Covishield vaccine unlike earlier practice of six weeks, some of them got infected with Coronavirus and asked to get the shot only after three months from the day of testing negative to the virus, reluctance and several other issues.
Though the state government issued directions to give priority to teachers to give jab from July 15 onwards in the wake of reopening of schools, the teachers expressed displeasure by saying that it was too late for them especially in the context of compliance with 84 days of gap from the first to the second dose of especially Covishield vaccine.
They say that about 680 government teachers succumbed to the Coronavirus in the second wave of the pandemic while about 400 lost their lives in the first wave of the pandemic and attribute some of the reasons like making them to work for elections for gram panchayats, zilla and mandal parishads and for municipal bodies.
The teachers made a fervent appeal to the state government to issue directions to the health authorities to administer Covid vaccine on war-footing to all government teachers who missed out so far to ensure that all teachers get vaccinated by the time the schools get reopened to limit the chance of risk of spread of the Coronavirus to the fellow teachers, students, their family members and others.
Teachers’ MLC Shaik Sabji said, “We appeal to the Chief Minister to issue directions to give Covid jab to all teachers before reopening of schools so that all will be safe.”
AP United Teachers Federation general secretary K.S.S. Prasad said, “We have lost hundreds of our colleagues to the Coronavirus and we urge the state government to take up special drive to give Covid jab to all those who are yet to get, to avoid risk of spread of the virus especially among school kids as it is feared that the third wave may hit them badly.”...