Argentina's government has announced up a five-stage plan to vaccinate close to a million teachers, revealing it will use doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine to protect educational professionals.
Health Minister Carla Vizzotti informed provincial administrations this week that teachers are next in line for jabs against Covid-19 and that the government has earmarked the Sinopharm shot, developed by the eponymous Chinese laboratory, for that sector of the population.
On Tuesday, (February 23) a flight operated by state airline Aerolíneas Argentinas departed for China to take delivery of 904,000 doses of the vaccine. It is expected to arrive back in Buenos Aires on Thursday night. A further 96,000 doses are anticipated soon, according to the government.
Meanwhile, face-to-face classes with teachers are set to return in the majority of the country on March 1. Other regions, such as Buenos Aires City, San Juan, Santa Fe, Jujuy, Córdoba, Santiago del Estero, Mendoza, La Pampa and Neuquén, have already reopened schools to pupils.
Amidst concerns from unions that teachers are returning to work without Covid-19 immunisation, the government has rolled out the following vaccination priority plan:
1) The first group to be vaccinated will be school directors and managers, those working in supervision and inspection, and teachers working directly with students at nurseries, the first three grades (1, 2 and 3) of primary schools, and those employed at special needs schools (a total of 457,694 people).
2) The second group will be made up of teaching assistants, all other personnel without teaching appointments but who work in educational establishments of compulsory education in different areas and services (a total of 247,413 individuals).
3) The third group includes teachers offering face-to-face classes to the 'second half' of primary school students — grades 4, 5, 6 and 7 (a total of 148,692 people).
4) The fourth group will be made up of teachers engaged in face-to-face classes in secondary schools, those working in further education for young people and adults at all levels and professional training instructors (a total of 331,099 professionals).
5) Finally, the last group will be teachers and non-teachers in higher education institutions and universities (a total of 273,185 individuals).