More than 200,000 teachers could miss salary over Covid jab snub

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021 00:00 |
TSC secretary Nancy Macharia with Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya assess vaccination exercise for teachers at Nakuru Level Five Hospital, yesterday. Photo/PD/Raphael Munge

More than 200,000 teachers risk missing out on their August salaries for failing to take the Covid-19 jab.

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) gave the tutors, from both public and private schools, seven days to take the full dosage of the Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine in line with a directive by Public Service head Joseph Kinyua that all public servants take the two doses or face unspecified disciplinary measures. 

Yesterday, TSC Secretary Dr Nancy Macharia revealed that only 110,342 teachers have received full dosage since the exercise began, against the government target of 330,671. 

Another 178,734 had only taken the first dose, the teachers’ employer announced yesterday. Macharia termed the figures “far from impressive” and gave those yet to get the jab seven days to do so.

She regretted that the number is still low despite the government having prioritised and identified teachers as frontline workers together with health, police and military officers, who were targeted during round one of the inoculations.

A well-placed source at the TSC headquarters who sought anonymity revealed that the commission may consider a raft of disciplinary measures against those who do not comply with the directive.

“What TSC is doing is to enforce the Kinyua directive among teachers, failure to which there will be penalties such as withholding the next salaries for those who will not have taken the jab upon the expiry of the seven-day notice,” said the source. Last week, the government ordered all civil servants to take the jab within two weeks or risk disciplinary action after only a few volunteered to take the jab.

Kinyua accused some State officials of deliberately refusing to get vaccinated so that they can stay at home, negatively affecting service delivery.

“In our recent meeting, it was reported that there was a low uptake of Covid-19 vaccines among public servants,” Kinyua said in a statement.

“It has, therefore, been decided that all civil servants will be prioritised in the ongoing vaccination and that those who will not have been given the first jab by August 23 be treated as discipline cases and appropriate action taken against them,” he added.

Rallying call

Kinyua directed principal secretaries and accounting officers to ensure the directive is adhered to. It is against this backdrop that Macharia, as the TSC  accounting officer, issued yesterday’s warning.

TSC boss launched a rallying call to all teachers to “beat Covid-19 by getting a jab”, saying vaccination was the quickest way to return life back to normalcy.

“Once again I am making a rallying call to all teachers; “Beat Covid-19 by Getting a Jab!” …. and I want to assure teachers that the quickest way for life to return to normal is for most people to get vaccinated,” said Macharia. 

She made the remarks at Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital in Nakuru county during a vaccine step-up campaign for teachers yesterday.

The private sector has 191,000 basic education teachers out of which about 91,000 received the first dose. 

Macharia, however, lauded those who have taken both does of the vaccine, even as she urged all teachers to fully embrace the jab and protect themselves from the threats posed by the disease.

“You may remember that, in recognition of the important role that the teachers play, President Uhuru Kenyatta allowed the Ministry of Health to open up the vaccination exercise to all teachers irrespective of their ages, Macharia said.

As at August 14, 178,734 teachers were vaccinated with the first dose while 110,342 had received the full dose.

Macharia launched the vaccination drive among teachers countrywide on March 11.

 “We are urging  all our teachers who got the first dose to take advantage of the ongoing second dose vaccination campaign to gain full immunisation,” she said. 

Support staff

Speaking while releasing the Kenya Certificate of Primary Examination examination results in April, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said President Uhuru had authorised all teachers and non-teaching staff to jump the queue and get the vaccine before schools reopen for the third term.

“This morning, His Excellency the President has directed that all teachers and support staff in our schools be allowed to take up the Covid-19 vaccination as part of the measures to ensure that our schools are safe from the virus,” Magoha said.

Magoha said the ministry is monitoring the Covid-19 situation and schools’ preparedness to adhere to all health guidelines to curb the spread of the virus.

To enforce the order, several civil servants on Monday were denied entry into their offices at the Makueni County Commissioner’s building for failing to get vaccinated.

However, members of the public were allowed to access the offices and get the services they are seeking at the county headquarters.

The civil servants were denied entry following a letter by Kinyua on August 11, directing all officers to be vaccinated before 23/08/2021.

Speaking at his Wote offices, Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed said officers from the national and county governments must be vaccinated before they can be allowed to access their duty stations.

Further he disclosed that 40 county heads have been vaccinated, saying they have set a good example to their juniors who should now take the jab.

“I have written to all nine Deputy County Commissioners to ensure they enforce the government directive,” said Mohammed.

In similar fashion, only 1,000 delegates who are fully vaccinated will participate in the seventh devolution conference in Makueni, which kicks off next week.

Slightly over 6,000 delegates were expected at the event to be held at Makueni Boys High School, but a surge in Covid-19 infections saw that number scaled down.

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