Kerala Education Minister V Sivankutty on November 28 said that around 5,000 teaching and non-teaching staff in the state have not been vaccinated yet.
“The Kerala government cannot encourage the attitude of some unvaccinated teaching and non-teaching staff coming to schools. The matter will be brought to the attention of the committee, which handles the COVID-19 protocol as it is a matter of safety of the children,” he told reporters.
Sivankutty further said that while the state is “not forcing” staff to get vaccinated, they have been asked to stay home. “In the guidelines issued just before the reopening of schools, we made it very clear that all teaching and non-teaching staff must be inoculated," he added.
He noted that some unvaccinated teachers have been coming to schools, despite instructions from the authorities and the state government and education department “cannot in any manner support their decision not to take vaccines”.
He added that those who cannot be vaccinated due to health issues must notify the concerned authorities.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
“A majority of teachers are in support of the vaccination and have followed the procedure. This is a matter of safety of our children and our state," Sivankutty added. He also urged the public to stand with the state government “to ensure the safety of the society”.
Kerala re-opened schools on November 1 after being shut for over a year-and-half due to the COVID-19 pandemic.With inputs from PTI