Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching welcomed the decision to provide early vaccination against Covid-19 for teachers with comorbidities in government schools but reminded Putrajaya not to leave out vulnerable teachers in other institutions.
Teo said these include teachers at Genius institutions, Sekolah Agama Rakyat, state religious schools, Mara junior colleges, royal military colleges, private schools, private religious schools and Chinese independent schools.
Genius is the government's early childhood education programme.
"I hope the rest of the teachers will also be prioritised, once frontline health personnel and high-risk populations are vaccinated.
"This is a critical step towards creating an environment that is safe for children and provides stability in the education ecosystem," said the former deputy education minister.
Yesterday, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the government will try to vaccinate 55,539 out of some 415,840 teachers in government schools under Phase 1.
These are teachers with pre-existing illnesses that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19.
This was in addition to healthcare frontliners, enforcement personnel, welfare officers and elected representatives who will be among the earliest to get the vaccine.
Teo said there are also a total of 17,857 teachers in the private sector and 13,040 teachers in other educational institutions managed by government agencies.
High-risks teachers in this category should also be included in the vaccination exercise, she added.
"While I am happy that teachers in government schools are getting priority, those in Genius institutions, other government agencies and private sector should not be neglected as they and their students could be exposed to the same level of risks," she said.
Teo also noted that the vaccine will take around three to five days before it can sufficiently provide protection and asked if the government had accounted for this.
This is as pre-school, Standard 1 and Standard 2 classes are set to resume in five days, on March 1.
Standard 3 to 6 students will return to school on March 8 while secondary school students will go back to school in April.