President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday directed all teachers and support staff, irrespective of their ages, to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
Initially, only teachers above 50 were eligible for vaccination.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha made the announcement while releasing the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Examination (KCPE) examination results, shortly after meeting the president at State House in Nairobi.
“All teachers and support staff in our schools be allowed to take Covid-19 vaccinations as part of the measures to ensure our schools are safe from the virus,” said Prof Magoha.
Magoha and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) chief executive Nancy Macharia revealed that so far, 26 primary schools teachers had succumbed to coronavirus.
“We have lost eight head teachers, three deputy headteachers and 15 teachers . Today, I’m happy to announce that the president has allowed teachers, irrespective of their age, to receive the jab. As of yesterday (Wednesday), 92,256 teachers had been vaccinated,” said Macharia.
She encouraged more teachers and specifically the 4,756 examiners who didn’t get a chance to get the vaccine due to their tight schedule occasioned by the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations to ensure they are vaccinated.
“Many of the examiners came to the marking centres immediately after invigilating the KCSE examinations. What this means is that the majority of them did not get the opportunity to get vaccinated,” said Macharia.
With KCSE marking set to start next week, Macharia has asked examiners to ensure they get vaccinated before embarking on the exercise.
Magoha said teachers should ensure they are vaccinated and adhere to the Ministry of Health protocols on containing the virus.
The CS noted that the school calendar had been affected by the Covid-19, forcing the government to close schools indefinitely in March last year.
Apart from the vaccine, TSC has already instructed teachers’ health insurance provider to cover all teachers against any Covid-19-related ailments. In January, the ministry negotiated with the commission’s medical insurance provider to cover all teachers who contracted Covid-19.
Meanwhile, save for Fourth Graders and First Formers, all learners are expected back in school on May 10, a plan Magoha sees will go through despite the third wave of the pandemic.
“We are hopeful we will open schools as scheduled although we continue to monitor the trends of the Covid-19 situation and schools’ preparedness so that we can adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines,” said Magoha.