UNESCO urges countries to prioritize teachers in Covid vaccine rollout

UNESCO and the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 are collecting information on teacher prioritization within national COVID-19 vaccine deployment.

While the protection of teachers is essential for schools to reopen safely, just 21 out of 197 countries prioritize teachers in the first phase of vaccination efforts. Another 37 countries include teachers as a priority group for the 2nd phase. 

Meanwhile 57 countries do not prioritize teachers at all whom are expected to be vaccinated within the general population after “priority groups”. 

Some developing countries have, under the auspices of the COVAX programme, vaccinated teacher and other school staff with relative speed even when not prioritized as frontline workers. For example, in Somalia, almost half of all 17,000 primary and secondary teachers (8492 teachers) were given a first dose of vaccine by April 2021 while in Kenya, about 1 in 3 teachers had also received a first dose by early June 2021.