Teachers from Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region got vaccinated against COVID-19 after info sessions organized by UNICEF
Zugdidi, Georgia, 17 August 2021 – Teachers from the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region got vaccinated against COVID-19 after the information sessions organized by UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health. The sessions were led by prominent doctors and public health experts and aimed to provide the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccination and to respond to the specific questions that teachers and school administration had around vaccination.
The meetings in Zugdidi and Mestia were facilitated by prominent medical experts, including: Bidzina Kulumbegov, Medical Doctor at the Center of Allergy and Immunology; Ivane Chkhaidze, Chair of the Pediatric Department at Tbilisi State Medical University; Zviad Kipiani, Head of the Cardiology Department and President of the Georgian Heart Failure Association; and Khatuna Zakhashvili, Head of the Department of Communicable Diseases of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health.
"UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia in promoting vaccination of teachers and in creating a safe environment in schools." - Ghassan Khalil
“UNICEF continues advocating for vaccinating teachers against COVID-19 so they can continue the inspiring work they do in the classroom”, said Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia in promoting vaccination of teachers and in creating a safe environment in schools. UNICEF believes that those offering essential services to children, such as teachers should be prioritized in the vaccination programme. Schools should be the last to close down and the first to re-open,” Khalil added.
Since May 2021, UNICEF Georgia has conducted 14 meetings around the country for local community leaders, including teachers, doctors, religious leaders and tourism sector representatives, to engage them in the national vaccination programme. Over 800 people got vaccinated after the info-sessions on the same day, and after further spreading the information in their communities there were higher rates of vaccination in the selected municipalities.
Teacher absenteeism due to COVID-19 contributes to school shutdowns, or decisions to send individual classes home, and to the burnout of remaining teachers who work hard to support additional students.
The latest evidence shows that in-person schooling does not appear to be the main driver of infection spikes and school staff do not appear to be at a higher relative risk, compared to the general population. Schools are central to children’s development, safety and well-being. School closures have devastating consequences, with marginalised children paying the heaviest price. Children with lower levels of education are more at risk of lifelong poverty, have a lower life expectancy and poorer health outcomes.
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/