A medical worker inoculates a teacher at the Tangerang City Government building in Banten on Feb. 25, 2021. (Beritasatu Photo/Ruht Semiono)

Teachers’ Vaccination Gives New Hope for Education

MARCH 01, 2021

Jakarta. The government has recently kicked off the second phase of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout which includes public service workers, senior citizens, as well as teachers and education personnel.

Health Ministry Covid-19 vaccination spokeswoman Siti Nadia Tarmizi said public service workers are getting the Covid-19 jab as they are susceptible to the virus transmission.

“Speaking of teachers, vaccination gives a specific protection. With this protection and herd immunity that we are currently working on together, we can protect those who are not vaccinated,” Siti Nadia told an online dialogue titled “Phase Two Vaccination: Prioritizing Teachers and Education Personnel” held by the Covid-19 Handling and Economic Recovery Committee and broadcasted on FMB9ID_IKB on Friday. 

The Education and Culture Ministry stated teachers of all levels will get their shots. “We are prioritizing educators and personnel at the president’s behest. We will vaccinate educators and personnel of early education, elementary schools, madrasah [Islamic school], special schools, high schools, vocational schools up to higher education,” Yaswardi, the ministry's director general for teachers and education personnal on secondary and special education said.

The government finds teachers' vaccination a way to curb pandemic-induced learning loss, especially those who are struggling with remote learning such as the younger learners. In addition, vaccination helps accelerate the return to in-person learning.

Yaswardi said “the vaccine is for all educators of all levels — be it public or private schools, formal or informal education units, including the religious institutions under the Religious Affairs Ministry.” The vaccine recipients are based on the data from the Education Ministry and Religious Affairs Ministry. The local education and health agencies, as well as the Religious Affairs Ministry's regional office will inform the recipient of their vaccine appointment. When the time comes, registered recipients only need to bring their identity card. Unregistered teachers can submit a statement letter from their education unit’s director to the vaccination site.

“Since the beginning, teachers have been responding positively to the vaccination program. We have not seen anyone refusing [to get inoculated]. Countries around the world are now aware that we are serious in considering the education aspect in fighting off this pandemic,” Indonesian Teachers Association (PGRI) chairwoman Unifah Rosyidi said.

Nadia added, "We are starting off the vaccination by prioritizing the seven provinces with the highest transmission rate. In March 2021, we will distribute 11 million vaccines for the regions other than the aforementioned seven provinces and outside of the provincial capitals.”

So far, the Education Ministry has coordinated with the Health Ministry on the teachers' data. The latter will then coordinate with the local education agencies. “We have a repository of teachers and education staff — namely the education data center (Dapodik) and higher education database (PDDIKTI). We will first prioritize the seven provinces, but we will map out other provinces as well,” Yaswardi said.

Siti Nadia stated the government will compile all the said data into one Covid-19 vaccination data system to avoid long queues. This also helps to ensure the data matches with the data on-site.

"The Education Ministry is not working alone on this program, but we are working together with teacher associations to serve the teachers and education personnel. We will continue to coordinate with the Health Ministry regarding the vaccination,” Yaswardi said.

Unifah also pointed out the teachers' enthusiasm for the vaccine rollout. “Many even asked about the process, but we all know it follows the aforementioned stages.”

According to Nadia, the government will take several things into consideration before reopening schools. “We have to consider the transmission rate, people’s compliance with health protocols and vaccination scope.”

Yaswardi highlighted how vital the regional government's role is in the teachers' vaccination program. “The central government coordinates with both the provincial and district/municipal government to ensure everything goes well as instructed by the president. We will also pay attention to the regional government’s response regarding their readiness to kick off in-person learning.”

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