Gov’t urged to prioritize teachers in COVID-19 vaccinations

Published March 19, 2021, 11:04 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Thirty-three organizations are calling on the government to prioritize teachers in COVID-19 vaccination to pave the way for the reopening of schools and resumption of face-to-face classes.

In a position paper released on Friday, March 19, the organizations proposed that teachers – who are currently in B1 priority under National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) Resolution No. 1, s. 2021 – be moved up to A4 priority.

Furthermore, the organizations said that the definition of the A4 priority should be revised into: “Frontline personnel (non-health) in essential sectors: first responders (firefighters, police, and the like) and those who work in the education sector (teachers, support staff, day care workers).”

This recommendation aims to recognize the critical role of teachers to the “continued functioning” of society.

“Even in various degrees of community quarantines, schools remain closed,” read the position paper. “This affected more than 38 million youth in our school-age population (ages 5-22 years old),” they added.

The organizations also noted that to this date, “there is no complete and concrete plan for the safe reopening of schools.”

While teachers are at an average risk level of COVID infection, the groups noted that “vaccinating them increases confidence to open schools.”

Based on their estimate, around 1.3 million teachers and teaching support staff “should be vaccinated” – covering both public and private sector in the basic, tertiary, and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) education.

The position paper was signed by Action for Economic Reforms; Educational Research & Development Assistance Foundation Inc.; Private Education Assistance Committee; Advocates of Inclusion ICCP Group Foundation, Inc.; Public Services Labor Independent Confederation; Angat Bayi; Kasilak Foundation; Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilya ng Pantawid; Aral Pilipinas; Makati Business Club; Save the Children; ASA Philippines Foundation; Management Association of the Philippines; School of Knowledge for Industrial Labor, Leadership and Service, Inc.; Assessment, Curriculum and Technology Research Centre; Manila Doctors Hospital and Synergeia Foundation.

Other signatories include the Ateneo Center for Educational Development; Philippine Business for Education; Teach for the Philippines; Coalition for Better Education; Philippine Business for Social Progress Teachers, Inc.; De La Salle Philippines; Philippine National Research Center for Teacher Quality; The Asia Foundation; Dualtech Training Center Foundation, Inc.; Philippine Normal University; Working Group on Education for Economic Development; E-Net Philippine; Philippine Pediatric Society; and Young Public Servants.