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Teachers Should be Given Priority for COVID Vaccine: WHO

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Teachers and students have been facing the brunt of the pandemic as learning continues to suffer in digital mode. To make sure that schools in Europe and Central Asia reopen safely, WHO and UNICEF, on Monday, stressed the need to prioritise teachers and school staff for the COVID vaccine. While a lot of economic and social activities were allowed to resume amidst the pandemic, educational institutes continue to remain shut in a lot of areas.

However, WHO seems to be keen on resuming schools and colleges henceforth even through the pandemic. The measures that schools will need to follow to ensure smooth functioning include “offering teachers and other school staff the COVID vaccine as part of target population groups in national vaccination plans,” the UN agencies wrote in a statement.

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As some schools have opened up after summer vacations and with a decrease in fresh infections, the agencies remarked it was “vital that classroom-based learning continue uninterrupted,” even though the fear of a more infectious Delta variant is looming large. 

“This is of paramount importance for children’s education, mental health and social skills, for schools to help equip our children to be happy and productive members of society”, Hans Kulge, the director of the WHO European region, said in a statement. “The pandemic has caused the most catastrophic disruption to education in history,” he added.

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The agencies have also requested countries to vaccinate children above 12 years of age who have pre-existing medical conditions that can make them vulnerable to a severe COVID-19 infection. 

It has also emphasised the need to have a safe environment in educational institutions for students. The safety measures that schools will have to follow include better ventilation, smaller class sizes, social distancing and regular COVID testing for children and staff.

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In India, various states have brought in glad tidings for students by reopening schools and colleges. Offline classes in schools have resumed in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Nagaland, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. 

As far as the vaccination drive is concerned, India hit a milestone on Tuesday by delivering 1.25 crore jabs of COVID vaccines in a day. 

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