The vaccination rate for teachers in primary and secondary education exceeded 82 pct, Education Minister Niki Kerameus informed parliament on Monday, while noting that the vaccination of children had improved but was still lagging behind. By contrast, she added, vaccination rates among students in tertiary education were high and rising.
“In children with one dose and an appointment booked we are at 35 pct for ages 15 to 18 and 17 pct for ages 12-14. In universities, the percentages are much higher and, in fact, changed within the last week. The previous week they were saying that the percentage of students that had been vaccinated or had fallen ill was 73 pct. This morning it is more than 75.5 pct,” she said, while noting that 87 pct of the staff and 91 percent of teaching staff were fully vaccinated.
“I think that with all of this the educational community was sending a strong message of return to normality, using the unique gift of science, the vaccine,” the minister said, adding that the government has also made plans for increased testing that will be free for pupils.
She underlined, however, that the vaccination rate among children has to be increased and parents convinced to get them vaccinated in order to protect them.
Kerameus said the philosophy behind the pandemic protocol had changed from that in the previous year, when schools and classes were shut down if a child fell ill to prevent Covid-19 spreading. “Now all of them are either vaccinated or, if they are not, they can be vaccinated free of charge by the state. On the other hand, we have an obligation to provide education,” she explained.
Given that a significant portion of the population was vaccinated, she added, education must continue and to this end, the government was investing and spending large sums on testing to make in-person attendance safe.