One week after Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly assured that teachers will be among the priority groups to receive COVID-19 vaccines during this phase, approximately 700 educators have been short-listed to be immunised.
The group was scheduled to begin receiving injections at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) Campus, Munroe Road, Chaguanas, yesterday.
Unable to say just how many people would have received the vaccine, T&T Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) president Antonia Tekah-De Freitas said, “The Ministry of Education has been allocated 4,000 vaccines for those educators who would be involved in exams.”
During last Thursday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, as she announced the three-week postponement of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam from June 10 to July 1, Gadsby-Dolly said the continued increase in new daily infections had led to this decision.
She said the postponement was “necessary due to the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing challenges posed by the health regulations at this time.”
Principals and teachers, along with administrative personnel from all schools, had previously expressed concerns about having to invigilate the SEA exam without having been vaccinated—a move TTUTA had advised their members against.
However, Gadsby-Dolly last week promised the vaccination of educators would be a priority focus for the Ministry of Health.
She said, “Teachers who are and will be in closest or repeated physical contact with students have been targeted as a priority group, and the MoH will accommodate this sub-set of teachers for priority vaccination.”
Video from just outside the main gate of the UTT Chaguanas Campus yesterday, confirmed a steady flow of vehicles exiting the compound as people presented themselves to be vaccinated.
Tekah-De Freitas was unable to say how many educators have contracted the COVID-19 virus and/or would have died as a result since the first case was detected in T&T on March 12, 2020.
She was unwilling to offer up any figures, as she said TTUTA has to be very careful in terms of such a pronouncement, as this could only be done through confirmation by relatives or health officials.
Admitting she was aware of three people contracting the virus, she said teachers continued to isolate at home as they conduct online schooling, and that transmission had come via family members who are moving around and which had led to them being exposed.
The TTUTA head urged the population to adhere to public health regulations to wear masks, sanitise and social distance when they go out.