5k teachers, staff in Kerala schools yet to get jabs: Minister

The majority of these un-vaccinated are from the north Kerala districts Malappuram and Kasargod. These teachers haven’t visited schools and conduct online classes, an official said.
Many health activists and teacher’ organisations have asked the Kerala government to create proper awareness about Covid vaccine among the reluctant staff and teachers. (Agencies)
Many health activists and teacher’ organisations have asked the Kerala government to create proper awareness about Covid vaccine among the reluctant staff and teachers. (Agencies)
Published on Nov 29, 2021 12:26 AM IST
Copy Link
By, Thiruvananthapuram

Around 5,000 school teachers and non-teaching staff in Kerala have not taken a dose of Covid-19 vaccination, citing religious beliefs and poor health, state education minister V Sivankutty said on Sunday.

The minister said the state government would review the issue at the earliest as the safety of the children is paramount.

“We have started collecting data on this. There is a standing instruction that un-vaccinated teachers will not be allowed to take classes. Teachers are role models, and the government views their attitude seriously,” said the minister. There are around 1.6 lakh school teachers and 25,000 non-teaching employees in the state.

“Children’s safety is our main concern. We can’t justify the action of these un-jabbed teachers. We will give them some more time. Otherwise, the government will take action against them,” the minister said in the state capital.

The majority of these un-vaccinated are from the north Kerala districts Malappuram and Kasargod. These teachers haven’t visited schools and conduct online classes, an official said.

Many health activists and teacher’ organisations have asked the government to create proper awareness among the reluctant staff. “A modern society can’t accept this. Some of the religious states like Saudi Arabia and the Vatican are carrying out the jabbing exercise strictly. No religion supports such an attitude,” said public health expert Dr Pamanabha Shenoy.

Some teachers’ associations have also decried this. “All teachers should take jabs, and we will support any initiative in this regard,” said Kerala Pradesh School Teachers’ Association leader M Salahuddin. Many experts also urged religious leaders to step in and educate teachers about the importance of vaccination against Covid-19.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, the CPI (M)-led left government had instructed all educational institutions to make basic vaccines for polio, influenza, measles and other diseases compulsory for enrolling children in schools.

In 2017, the government had constituted a 17-member expert panel headed by Dr B Ekbal to chalk out a comprehensive health policy. One of the key recommendations of the panel was to make these vaccinations compulsory for children. While enrolling children, the government-mandated the parents to produce details of vaccines administered to their wards.

In Kerala, 96 per cent of the eligible population have received the first dose and 65% got both doses of the Covid vaccine, according to the health ministry data. The state has been topping the Covid-19 chart for more than six months, and in the total tally of Covid-related deaths, it is second to Maharashtra with 39,679 fatalities. On Saturday, the state reported 4,741 cases, and an active caseload is 48,501.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, June 28, 2022