Chile began this Monday to vaccinate its school teachers against the coronavirus with a view to resuming face-to-face classes in March, after almost two weeks of a massive immunization program that has already benefited more than two of its 19 million inhabitants.
“With the beginning of this process we want to provide security to teachers, parents and also children so that they can return to classes in March voluntarily and safely,” said the Minister of Health, Enrique Paris.
Teachers were to be vaccinated at the end of the month, but the government decided to advance the process to prevent schools from being closed, as was a large part of last year.
Thus, the immunization of 513,621 officials of educational establishments, which includes teachers, preschool educators, education assistants, directors, administrators and food handlers is expected.
“Today a light of hope opens up for us, which allows us at some point to meet our children again,” Gloria Alfaro, the first teacher to be vaccinated and whose 106-year-old mother has already been immunized, told the press.
The Ministry of Education set the start of the 2021 school year for March 1, but the College of Teachers expressed their reservations, arguing that other sanitary measures are needed in addition to the vaccine.
“There is no possibility of returning to face-to-face classes without any risk during the month of March,” affirmed the president of the College of Teachers, Carlos Díaz.
– “A lot of experience” in vaccination –
The Ministry of Health reported that, as of Monday, 2,092,453 people have already received at least one of the two necessary doses of the vaccine, in less than two weeks into the campaign.
Last week, those over 80 years of age were vaccinated in Chile, as well as other people who carry out critical tasks in the State, such as firefighters, tax employees and pharmacy personnel.
Schools, stadiums, gyms and primary care centers are being used to carry out the vaccination process, which began in Chile with health personnel on December 24 and began en masse on February 3.
“Our country has a lot of experience in relation to vaccination, because every year we vaccinate influenza with the same characteristics of this process,” María Trinidad Fraga, nurse, 26 years old, head of the vaccination site at the Municipal stadium of the Las Condes commune, in the east of Santiago.
The government’s goal is to vaccinate 5 million people most at risk before March 30 and another 10 million before June 30.
apg-pa / msa / yo