Teachers from the Kakheti region are getting COVID-19 vaccinations as part of a joint campaign by UNICEF and the Government
Vaccinations will help protect teachers from the virus, allow them to teach in person, and ultimately keep schools open
TELAVI, Georgia, 7-8 September 2021 – More than 150 teachers and health practitioners from Kakheti participated in information sessions on COVID-19 vaccinations organized by UNICEF, in partnership with the Governor’s Office, the Ministry of Education and Science, and the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC). The two sessions, in Telavi and Kakhreti, were followed by opportunities for teachers to get vaccinated on the spot. As frontline workers, it is important that teachers have access to vaccinations for safe school reopening.
The sessions were led by prominent doctors and public health experts and were aimed at encouraging teachers from Kakheti to get vaccinated. The information sessions, as well as the teacher vaccinations, were attended by the Governor of the Kakheti region - Mr. Irakli Shioshvili, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science - Ms. Ekaterine Dgebuadze, the Ambassador of Norway to Georgia - H.E. Helene Sand Andresen, the Ambassador of Estonia to Georgia - H.E. Riina Kaljurand, the Ambassador of Lithuania to Georgia - H.E. Andrius Kalindra, and the UNICEF Representative in Georgia - Dr. Ghassan Khalil.
The sessions were facilitated by prominent medical experts such as: Mr. Ivane Chkhaidze, Chair of the Pediatric Department at Tbilisi State Medical University; Mr Zviad Kipiani, Head of the Cardiology Department and President of the Georgian Heart Failure Association; Mr. Paata Imnadze, Deputy Director of the NCDC; and Ms. Khatuna Zakhashvili, Head of Communicable Disease at the NCDC.
Since May 2021, UNICEF has organized 16 similar meetings in different regions throughout Georgia for local community leaders including teachers, doctors, religious leaders, and tourism sector representatives, with the aim of promoting COVID-19 vaccination in these groups. An estimated 1,000 teachers were vaccinated on the days these sessions took place. The teachers have since spread information about the benefits of vaccination in their communities, resulting in higher rates of vaccination. As a result of joint interventions, the number of teachers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 increased from 9 per cent in May 2021 to 46 per cent by the end of August 2021. UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science and with support from the NCDC, plans to organize 42 information sessions for more than 3,000 teachers in the coming three months.
Schools are central to children’s development, safety, and well-being. The risks to children, while they are out of school, are greater than the risks to them while in school, for three key reasons:
- The impact of school closures on students’ learning, health, and well-being at critical developmental stages have profound repercussions on children, their families, and their economy. Many of these children will never catch up.
- With risk mitigation measures in place, schools are safe environments for children. The latest evidence shows that schools do not drive the spread of COVID-19 in the community and that COVID-19 does not pose a high risk to children.
- School closures have the greatest negative impact on the most vulnerable children, those who are far less likely to have access to remote learning and more likely to be exposed to violence, abuse, neglect, child labor, and other risks.
Closing schools must be a temporary measure of last resort in pandemic response; and schools must be the first to open and the last to close. Assessing the risk of transmission at the local level should be a key determinant in decisions on school operations.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/