The Australia Education Union Victorian Branch has welcomed the Victorian Government’s updated COVID-19 vaccination policy, designating school and early childhood teachers and education support staff working with children with a disability as priority group 1B.
AEU Victorian Branch President Meredith Peace described the move as a significant step towards the call for full inclusion of all education workers in a vaccine priority group.
“Education workers across early childhood, school and TAFE settings have worked through the pandemic, showing resilience, determination and professionalism,” Ms Peace said.
“We are pleased that the Andrews Government has recognised the importance of vaccinating teachers and support staff working with children with a disability as a key component in protecting the Victorian community and vulnerable groups from the risk of COVID-19 infection.”
The Department of Education has advised schools and early childhood settings that vaccination priority access now includes teachers, support and administration employees in specialist schools working directly with students (within 1.5 metres for more than 15 minutes); and teaching and support staff in schools and workers in early childhood education and care services, working directly with students (within 1.5 metres for more than 15 minutes) living with a specified underlying medical condition or significant disability.
“While this isn’t all education staff across all sectors, as we have been calling for, it will significantly widen the pool of those who can get vaccinated,” Ms Peace said.
“Unfortunately, there is still no decision to prioritise the vaccination of education workers from the Federal Government, despite their constant criticism of school closures.
“The AEU Victorian Branch will continue to advocate for all education staff, across all sectors, to be prioritised for vaccines.
“As I have said previously, unless education staff are able to have priority access to a vaccine, we continue to be at risk of more disruptions to the on-site education of our students.”
22 June 2021