The study by the Hospital Center of the University of Coimbra, which concluded that three months after taking the vaccine, antibodies began to fall, leaving people less protected against Covid-19, is worrying the school community, therefore they are asking the Government for urgent measures. With just over a month before the start of a new school year, the principals emphasize that they are not scientists, but they know that it is necessary “to do everything so that schools do not close again”.
“Students cannot return home. Closing schools has catastrophic effects that will have long-term repercussions. We have already realized that distance learning has been harmful to students, especially the younger ones, who are less autonomous, and those who are already more in need of support”, underlined the vice-president of the National Association of Directors of Groupings and Public Schools (ANDAEP ) in statements to Lusa.
David Sousa pointed out the measures that should go ahead now: testing and vaccination of the educational community, including all students aged 12 and over. The vice president of ANDAEP defends that the personnel who work in schools which were one of the priority groups in the vaccination should be the target of serological tests that allow them to understand the levels of immunity and receive the third dose of the vaccine.
The president of the National Association of School Directors (ANDE), Manuel Pereira, is more cautious: “I'm not a health technician, nor a scientist, I just know that it is necessary to ensure that conditions exist for a normal school year to exist”. “Decisions are taken by the Government based on scientific assumptions. For us, the important thing is that students and teachers can be in schools and if the scientific community says that three or four vaccines are needed, then we will be in agreement”, he said in statements to Lusa. Without wanting to enter into the discussion about taking new doses of vaccines, Manuel Pereira defended serological tests among the educational community, pointing them out as an advantage for schools but also for the scientific community: “I think it is of all interest, no only nationally but also internationally, to understand the level of immunity of those who have been vaccinated for the longest time”. Among teachers and employees, around 280,000 people were vaccinated in a gradual process that started at the end of March.
David Sousa stresses that he does not have scientific knowledge on the subject, but based on what he has already read, it seems essential to move faster with the third dose vaccination, to carry out serological tests as well as regular screening tests for covid-19, similar to the that happened last school year. “We also defend the vaccination of kids from 12 years old on”, added the vice president of ANDAEP.
The conclusions of the study by scientists from the University of Coimbra also led the President of the Republic to remember on Sunday that the decision on the administration of a third dose is up to the Government, recalling that the teachers were also among the first to be vaccinated.