September 6, 2021 | healthcare

KRG dedicates week to vaccinate teachers before school starts


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Kurdistan Region’s health ministry has dedicated a week for vaccination of teachers ahead of the new school year.

“All vaccination centers and stations in all provinces, administrations, cities, towns and districts will be dedicated to vaccinating university, school, and institution teachers for a week from September 7 to 15 to finish vaccination of all teachers,” Aso Hawezi, spokesperson for the health ministry, wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

Vaccination is not mandatory for teachers, but the health ministry is looking for ways to encourage educators to get the jab.

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Rahel Faraidoon, said they have discussed with experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) to find ways to “commit” all the public to get vaccinated, “not oblige them.”

“We are looking for commitment measures, not mandatory,” he said.

The Kurdistan Region's new school year will begin on September 14 with in-person classes and COVID measures in place, though parents have the option to register their children for online studies.

Iraq is recording more than 4,000 cases per day and the Kurdistan Region more than 1,000, though both are seeing infection rates slow after record high new cases in a third wave of the virus as the more contagious Delta variant spread.

The surge in infections contributed to an increased demand for vaccines, especially Pfizer, which was initially only administered in central hospitals but is now more widely available. There are at least 135 vaccination centers in the Kurdistan Region, according to statistics from the health ministry. More than 580,000 vaccines have been administrated in the Region, over 300,000 of them Pfizer.

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