School, 200 thousand teachers and operators are not vaccinated

The appointment with the Covid-19 vaccine is missing 15% of the staff, with some regions even 50%. Here’s how this situation came about and what the consequences could be

(foto: Pixabay)

There are about two months left before theschool year and the emergency situation Covid-19 it still remains fluid and uncertain. To the big general question mark on the diffusion of variants of the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus, upon the non-arrival of vaccines that can be administered to students under 12 and at the very low 12-18 band coverage years seems to add a further criticality with an increasingly concrete perspective. Not even the teaching staff and school staff will be completely ready to resume lessons with the hoped vaccination coverage, partially nullifying one of the key solutions put in place in an attempt to make schools as safe as possible.

The picture of the numbers to date

The official figures we currently have tell us more than a thousand words. Of the audience of approx 1.4 million people which constitute the school staff – of which just over 800 thousand teachers and just under 600 thousand non-teaching school workers – a good one 15% are still uncovered from vaccination. An estimated shortfall in the order of 215 thousand people, problematic not only as an absolute number but also for the inhomogeneity with which people still not vaccinated are distributed throughout the country.

Although not optimal, the 85% coverage in itself it would be deemed more than satisfactory, superior to that 80% milestone which has been set at national level as the purpose (by convention) of vaccination campaign. However, for coverage to be truly effective, it would be necessary to reach 80% not only as an Italian figure, but also at the level of each region, province and – ideally – in each individual school.

But that’s not how it’s going. While there are decidedly virtuous regions, such as Lazio which has already achieved coverage of the 99,8%, on the other hand, there are several where coverage is at very low levels. In addition to Liguria, where among resident teachers it is barely 37%, there is the Sicily still below 50%, the Calabria with 56%, the Sardinia with 63%, theUmbria with 67% and the autonomous provinces of Trento e Bolzano with 56% and 50% respectively. Overall there are still 8 regions (or 9 if we consider Trento and Bolzano separately) that have not reached the 80% share, of which 6 (or 7) even below 70%.

And to cause concern, in addition to the absolute numbers, is the trend: according to the data provided by the commissarial structure of the general Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, in the last two weeks they have barely been vaccinated 20 thousand of the missing people (it has gone from 235 thousand to 215 thousand missing and in terms of coverage from 84.5% to 85%), therefore at this rate it would take much more time than that available to reach the set objective.

What has gone wrong so far

According to the initial strategy of the vaccination campaign, teachers and school workers should have been among the “privileged” categories, with the possibility of accessing vaccination as early as March this year regardless of the age group they belong to. Beyond the physiological share of performers, the dynamics with which the vaccination campaign has developed seems to have contributed significantly to determining the current worrying scenario. Having planned for the staff under 60 a vaccination with the formulation Vaxzevria of AstraZeneca, then suspended, created confusion, concern e perplexity, both for those who received the first dose and then continued with one heterologous vaccination (receiving the second dose in messenger rna formulation) and for those who had yet to start their vaccination process.

Even if extraordinary measures are being studied to try to recover from a non-ideal situation, it can already be said that in the vaccination campaign for school workers, things have gone relatively crooked, and from a certain point of view it is too late. Counting that complete protection is achieved a couple of weeks after the second dose, and that about a month must elapse between the two doses, the administration of the first doses it should be completed by the end of July. And also including the time frame between reservation and administration, in practice it would be necessary conclude reservations in just a few days.

The strategies to remedy

Even if a partial failure has actually already materialized, there seems to be no lack of ideas for encourage vaccinations (although we will still have to wait for the facts to understand if they have been effective or not). A first action, which the same Son indicated to the regions through a letter to this, and of act extensively on the territory to intercept all school staff, even with the help of the community of colleagues, educational institutions and family doctors. In short, first of all make sure that everyone is explicitly offered the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Another line of intervention is again at the level of “privilege”. Always Figliuolo has communicated to give the priority to school staff, both in terms of reservation and at the vaccination hubs, by preparing de facto preferential lanes (digital and physical) to encourage vaccination whenever possible.

Again, this time per item of the consultant Agostino Miozzo of the Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi, the hypothesis of evaluating some form of mandatory. Without introducing a real obligation – which it is feared could be misunderstood in the school world – one of the proposals is to include operational limitations for the unvaccinated teachers, to which it could (if the ventilated line passed) be prevented from teaching in the classroom. This is undoubtedly the hardest possible action, which apparently would be seriously evaluated only if the other initiatives did not give the desired results.

Because the school staff is considered strategic

There is no doubt that teachers have been considered fundamental for a strategy since the beginning of the pandemic health safety in schools. But at the moment their role seems to be retained even more decisive, given a number of conditions that have been occurring in recent weeks.

These include the arrival and spread of variants, which may not be so simple to contain in circulation from the end of the summer onwards, and which would therefore make any kind of containment effort necessary. Secondly, there is the question of unavailability of vaccines for young people, to which is added the fact that in September very few people between the ages of 12 and 18 will already enjoy vaccination coverage.

What we would like to avoid, at least at the level of today’s intentions, is to carry out the school year again at a distance o in mixed teaching, but keeping everyone in attendance will only be possible by ensuring a good one health safety within schools and with a contained circulation of the virus. In this sense, teachers and school staff represent one of the keys to achieving the goal and it is for this reason that at the moment the attention seems to be focused above all on this professional category. If for no other reason – not being able to control the prevalence of new variants, the arrival of new vaccines and the coverage of the youngest – is one of the elements on which you can actually do something. Knowing already that 2021-2022 will not be a school year of return to normal and that all the anti-contagion rules that we know well must continue to apply.

Categories:   Science