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IEU call for priority vaccination in ACT gains momentum

 

IEU call for priority vaccination in ACT gains momentum

 

Following an open letter from the IEU to ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr on 18 August calling on him to prioritise the vaccination of school and early childhood staff in the ACT, the Principal of St Thomas Aquinas Primary School Canberra, where a COVID-19 infected person was present on 12 August, has added her voice to the demand.

 

IEU member Leah Taylor said teachers should be treated as essential workers, the Canberra Times reported.

 

In its letter to Mr Barr, the union said it is essential to ensure that the health and safety of staff and students is protected. 

“The union considers that before any schools or early learning centres can be re-opened, other than for the children of essential employees or vulnerable children, all teachers and support staff in both primary and secondary schools, as well as early childhood settings, must be provided the opportunity to be vaccinated. Such priority has been provided to all school and early learning centre staff in Queensland by the Queensland government and by the NSW government to school and early learning centre staff in the most affected Local Government Areas in NSW.   

Schools and early childhood centres need to be safe for staff required to work on site. All staff should have access to vaccines and be protected from risk of harm as much as possible.”

In his response on 19 August, Mr Barr’s spokesperson said “the ACT Government is aware of the demand for the vaccine, and we will expand eligibility as soon as the supply of the vaccine allows us to do so. Unfortunately, we cannot extend eligibility at the moment”.