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Vaccinating school and uni students: 'Ideally students must be considered'  

2 years ago

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  • Priority sought for A/L students 

  • No Health Ministry response yet 

  • Teachers to be vaccinated 

  • Schools to be reopened in stages 

 By Yumiko Perera    Measures are underway to inoculate teachers across the island and gradually reopen schools, The Sunday Morning learnt.  In a meeting held recently, which had been chaired by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris with the participation of health experts including paediatricians, a decision had been made to reopen schools gradually after the inoculation of teachers and school staff.  Several requests have also been made to inoculate schoolchildren and university students, The Sunday Morning learnt.  Speaking with us, Education Ministry Secretary Prof. Kapila Perera said: "We have requested the vaccines for both teachers and schoolchildren to be inoculated. We hope to at least get Advanced Level (A/L) students immunised. However, although no decisions have been made in that regard yet, we are expecting a positive response from the Health Ministry."  Reiterating that ideally, all schoolchildren and university students should be considered for immunisation, Prof. Perera added that they are working towards it. According to Prof. Perera, the first step in reopening schools is to provide vaccines to school staff islandwide, for which a total of 279,020 doses would be required.  Furthermore, Prof. Perera noted that there are nearly 4.5 million schoolchildren in the education system at present.  While children and young adults are still further down the vaccination priority list, the country is still struggling to procure vaccines.  Meanwhile, speaking with The Sunday Morning, Health Ministry Public Health Services Deputy Director General and Communications Director Dr. Hemantha Herath said considering the inoculation of children and youth should depend on the availability of data, and the safety and efficacy of the vaccines should also be taken into account. Several attempts made by The Sunday Morning to contact Primary Healthcare, Epidemics, and Covid-19 Disease Control State Minister Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle proved futile. 

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