By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Teachers under their leadership of the Uganda National Union of Teachers-UNATU, have come out to oppose the directive from the government through the Education and Sports Ministry compelling them to take the COVID-19 vaccination as one way to curb the spread of the deadly disease in educational Institutions.
UNATU’s statement follows a directive issued by the Education Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alex Kakooza to all teachers to get vaccinated to stop the spread of the pandemic in schools after observing a low turn up from the teachers across the country.
”We have received reports from the Ministry of Health that there is low uptake of vaccination among teachers. This undermines Government efforts to ensure the safe and sustainable full reopening of education institutions,” Kakooza said in a statement.
”The purpose of this circular, therefore, is to inform teachers in all educational institutions that you are required to take personal responsibility for getting vaccinated either at a health facility near you or through the vaccination outreaches organized by health workers in your community, Covid-19 vaccines are available free of charge in all sub-counties at Health Centre Ills, Health Centre IVs, district hospitals, regional referral hospitals and selected private health facilities,” Kakooza added.
However, UNATU’s General Secretary, Filbert Baguma, noted that although the idea of vaccinating all teachers is good for their own safety, it is not right to compel them to take the jab adding that the government should get back to the drawing board and design a new approach that will encourage the teachers to voluntarily embrace COVID-19 vaccination instead of piling on them pressure.
According to the Ministry of Education, only 8,517 out of the 550,000 teachers expected turned up for vaccination as of last week since the exercise kicked off for teachers as one of the frontline workers.
As a result, different local governments set timelines for the vaccination of the teachers. For instance in teachers in Kampala Central have two days (Wednesday and Thursday) to show up at Bat Valley Primary School for vaccination.
According to Willy Turyahikahe, a teacher at Nakasero Primary School, the government should carry out a sensitization campaign to attract the target group instead of forcing teachers to go for vaccination adding that currently, teachers are suspicious of the exercise give the information being shared regarding the vaccines.
Some teachers say that the government has been tagging teachers to get vaccination on reopening schools but the parents who spend time with the children are not being forced to get vaccinated.