Teachers on Covid duty will be frontline workers for vaccine drive: Sisodia
Teachers in schools run by the Delhi government and the municipal corporations — who have been actively involved in Covid-19 duty — will also be included in the list of front line workers to be vaccinated in the first phase, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said on Friday.
Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s education minister, said he raised the matter in a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday, after which it was unanimously decided that all personnel, irrespective of their departments, who have been part of the city administration’s Covid management team, will be given the vaccine shots on a priority basis under the category of front line workers.
“The matter was discussed at length and it was unanimously decided that all personnel who were or have been engaged in Covid related works will be given the vaccine shot under the priority category. This is going to be across all departments,” said Sisodia.
The DDMA is chaired by lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal and has chief minister Arvind Kejriwal as its vice-chairperson.
Earlier the government’s list of front line workers for vaccination only included police personnel, sanitation workers and civil defence volunteers.
Apart from teachers, the DDMA’s decision means that select workers from the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), and departments such as transport, power, and revenue, among others, will also be considered for vaccination, if the concerned official had performed any Covid duties in the past 11 months.
As per rough estimates of the government, around 300,000 health care workers and 600,000 lakh front line workers are to be vaccinated in the first phase. However, the final list of front line workers is still being worked out by the administration.
As for including teachers, their inclusion was discussed because school teachers were put on Covid-19 duty, sometimes even for 12 hours or more, as physical classes in schools across the city have been on hold since March last year owing to the pandemic. Hundreds of teachers were helping the government in food distribution during the migrant crisis and were also made in-charges of temporary shelter homes. Scores of other MCD and government teachers are also involved in the government’s door-to-door survey programme in detecting Covid-19 cases and now have been deployed for the upcoming vaccination campaign.
“After the vaccine process begins, the government can consider reopening schools. It will be better if teachers are vaccinated. Reopening schools is important because they have been shut for more than 10 months now,” said an officer who was part of the DDMA meeting.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that the government has identified 5.1 million people who will be the first to get the Covid-19 vaccine under the Central government’s “priority category”.