Despite interventions, official says 563 teachers in Johor still refusing Covid-19 vaccines

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Johor Education, Information, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman Mazlan Bujang (far right) observes the vaccination of a student during his visit to Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Daya in Johor Baru September 20, 2021 — Picture by Ben Tan
Johor Education, Information, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman Mazlan Bujang (far right) observes the vaccination of a student during his visit to Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Daya in Johor Baru September 20, 2021 — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, Sept 20 — A total of 563 teachers in Johor are still refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with most citing health reasons, said a state official.

Johor Education, Information, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman Mazlan Bujang said the majority were women, including those who were pregnant and worried that vaccination could affect their unborn child.

“Some pregnant women teachers are worried that the vaccination injection will have an effect and we are not forcing them to take up the shots.

“The female teachers said they will take the vaccine injection after giving birth and they are not considered anti-vaxxers or those who are opposed to vaccination.

“Out of the total of 563, there are about 200 teachers who refused to be vaccinated without having any health reasons,” said Mazlan in conjunction with the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Johor school students at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Daya here today.

Last month, the Johor Education Department revealed that a total of 779 teachers in Johor had reportedly refused to be vaccinated giving reasons for their decision as they were sceptical about the vaccine’s health benefit.

Following that, Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim held a meeting with the teachers to find a solution at the Sultan Ibrahim Building in Bukit Timbalan here on August 27.

On the remaining 200 teachers refusing to be vaccinated, Mazlan said the state government would leave the matter to the Education Ministry for further action.

However, he said a prudent approach by providing explanations and the benefits of vaccination will continue to be done in an effort to give those teachers a clearer understanding.

“The total number of teachers who refused to be vaccinated is very small and it’s only about one per cent of the 48,000 teachers in the state,” said the Puteri Wangsa assemblyman.

Mazlan also expressed his appreciation for Tunku Ismail’s concern and who was willing to meet the teachers who had earlier declined to be vaccinated.

“We saw that after Tunku Ismail’s meeting the number of teachers declining the vaccine decreased and such a meeting showed its positive results,” he said.

Yesterday, it was reported that Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that his ministry will discuss penalties for government staff refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

He said the ministry will discuss the matter with the Public Service Department (JPA) regarding the rejection, despite no proof of any health issues.

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