Punjab School Education Minister Murad Raas on Friday urged teachers in Lahore to get vaccinated, saying schools in the province would be reopened from June 7.
He was speaking to the media alongside Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid after inaugurating the first dedicated 'Vaccination Centre for Teachers' at the Government Pilot Higher Secondary School located on Wahdat Road in Lahore.
Raas said the vaccination centre would inoculate the teaching and non-teaching staff of both public and private schools, noting that there were 16,000 teachers and 4,000 non-teaching staff in Lahore.
"I request all teachers of public and private schools and non-teaching staff to get vaccinated before June 7 because we are going to open schools on June 7," the minister said, adding that the provincial government would open similar vaccination centres in the nine divisional headquarters in order to inoculate the maximum number of teachers.
The teachers would be required to bring their CNIC and job certificate in order to get vaccinated at the dedicated centre. Raas said teachers would also be prioritised at any vaccination centre for public if they went there with their documents.
With four counters, the Wahdat Road facility has the capacity to inoculate 1,500 people daily, according to the Punjab School Education Department.
The federal government had last month decided to open educational institutions in the districts with less than five per cent coronavirus positivity rate from May 24.
The Punjab government subsequently announced the opening of all public and private educational institutions in 16 districts from May 24.
Raas had said on May 25 that schools in the remaining districts "will have a staggered approach, opening from Monday, June 7".
3.5 million vaccinated in Punjab
Speaking on the occasion, Health Minister Rashid said 3.5 million people had been vaccinated in Punjab so far since the drive started nearly two months ago.
She said the government was striving to vaccinate both teachers and non-teaching staff because it did not want the schools to be shut again because of teachers contracting the disease.
Rashid reminded the public that the first vaccine dose did not guarantee the production of antibodies, urging them to follow all health precautions until after getting their second dose.
She said a person could get Covid-19 even after getting vaccinated, but the jab would reduce the severity of the disease and prove to be potentially life-saving.
The minister urged the public to wait patiently and maintain discipline at the vaccination centres, reassuring them enough vaccine was available.
On Sunday, Rashid had cited the strict implementation of coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) as the reason behind declining case numbers in the province, saying "we are in a very comfortable situation at the moment."
She said the number of Covid-19 patients who were being discharged and sent home was now greater than the number of patients being admitted to hospitals.