Now that more than 500,000 vulnerable Kiwis and key healthcare workers have received the seasonal flu vaccine, NZEI Te Riu Roa says a priority vaccination programme needs to be set up for educators returning to classrooms and early education services.
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Liam Rutherford says the small bubbles in schools and centres under Level 3 could be expanded to include most staff and children in as little as two weeks when the move to Level 2 is made .
"It makes sense to protect all teachers and support staff - and their students and tamariki - from seasonal flu. Even with careful social distancing and strict school bubbles they will have some of the closest and most prolonged contact of any workers," says Mr Rutherford.
"Any outbreak of respiratory illness in a school or centre would cause a lot of alarm and disruption until Covid-19 could be ruled out. So as our educators move to the front line in the reopening of Aotearoa, we're calling on the Government to vaccinate teachers and support staff as a priority."