Teachers are prioritized for corona vaccine

Just as in Norway, Israel has had a number of closures of the country’s schools. This week, many of the schools reopened their doors. One of the reasons is that over four million Israelis have received at least one vaccine dose.

– We are opening society slowly but surely up now, and hope that we are on our way to a so-called post-covid everyday life, says Tal Rabina, director of media and crisis management in the European Jewish Association, to Dagbladet.

Teacher debate

Rabina emphasizes that, both in Israel and in the rest of the world, there is great uncertainty about what a post-corona everyday life will be like.

– But this week the schools open again. So does much of the trading industry. Everything is naturally very vulnerable and uncertain, and I dare not say whether we will continue in this way, but we hope and believe that the massive vaccine campaign will soon give us a more normal everyday life, says Rabina.

The vaccine situation in Norway and Israel is very different: Every single day, the goal in Israel is for 140,000 Israelis to be vaccinated. This means that Israel spends three days vaccinating as many as Norway has vaccinated so far this year.

All teachers in Israel have now been offered a vaccine. This is so that the schools will be open, to spare the country’s children and young people, according to Rabina.

“Teachers were a priority group in Israel, and a clear majority have now been vaccinated,” says Rabina.

NEW DEBATE: Vaccine opponents are found all over the world, including in Israel. It is now being debated whether teachers who do not want to be vaccinated against covid-19 must stay away from classrooms to avoid infecting students, according to Tal Rabina, director of the European Jewish Association. Photo: Private
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This week, however, it turned out that a teacher infected his students in Israel. It has created a new debate.

– As elsewhere in society, not everyone wants to get vaccinated. Israel is a democracy, and does not force any citizens to do anything, but now we are discussing how we can protect children and young people from teachers who do not want to take the vaccine, says Rabina.

Must teach from home

According to Rabina, the debate is now quite loud in Israel.

– Only a few days after the schools were reopened, an entire class had to be sent back in isolation, because the teacher infected the students. Many now believe that teachers who have not been vaccinated should not be allowed in the classroom, but should be taught via zoom, says Rabina.

In Norway, teachers are not given priority when it comes to vaccines, which worries many teachers. At the beginning of January, the Education Association sent a letter to the National Institute of Public Health requesting that this be considered “because teachers perform a societal function and are exposed to the risk of infection”.

“With sharply rising infection rates and with a mutated virus that seems to spread more easily among children and young people, the Education Association believes important conditions that were the basis in the autumn of 2020 have changed in a way that today gives a clearer expectation that teachers are given priority for faster vaccination. », Wrote Utdanningsforbundet in a letter dated 8 January.

OUTDOOR SCHOOL: It is a little easier to have outdoor school in Israel in February, than in Norway.  Here, school children in the town of Ashkelon have outdoor school.  Photo: Ap / NTB
OUTDOOR SCHOOL: It is a little easier to have outdoor school in Israel in February, than in Norway. Here, school children in the town of Ashkelon have outdoor school. Photo: Ap / NTB
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– Very demanding

In the letter, the Education Association points out that open schools and kindergartens should be a priority during the pandemic, in order to spare children and young people. If teachers become infected, it leads to increased sickness absence and great strain over time.

“If this is to be possible, it is absolutely necessary that the teacher is neither infected nor contributes to infecting others,” the Education Association wrote further, before asking for a “professional assessment of how teachers as socially critical personnel can be prioritized for vaccination.”

– We do not know infection control and must rely on the health authorities’ assessment, but from time to time there has been frustration among our members, something we have also tried to address with the health authorities, says Terje Skyvulstad, deputy head of the Education Association.

He points out that many members reacted and did not understand the logic in the period when people in the East Norway region should hardly have visitors at home, while at school teachers could have close contact with many hundreds of students.

– There has also been some frustration associated with the yellow level. As one person said, yellow level is strictly a normal school, but with a bottle of antibac. Many have felt insecure and uneasy about being infected or infecting others, says Skyvulstad.

Look at Israel

The Education Association “expects the Norwegian authorities to familiarize themselves with the Israeli reasons for vaccinating teachers”, according to Skyvulstad.

He further points out that the Education Association has had several surveys among its members, in addition to having ongoing contact with shop stewards in kindergartens and schools.

– We can confirm that many are very worried about the risk of infection. This has of course increased after the virus mutated and the risk increased, says the deputy manager.

FINALLY AT SCHOOL: This week and last week, Israeli schools reopened their doors to students.  Photo: Reuters / NTB
FINALLY AT SCHOOL: This and last week, Israeli schools reopened their doors to students. Photo: Reuters / NTB
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