The BNTU president, Elena Smith, has been protesting for months, marching through the streets with a crowd of union members. And while she ensures that her mask is on, she has not been vaccinated.

Well, that's what the Minister of Education said. Francis Fonseca updated the media and told us that over 50% of teachers have been vaccinated, not including the one at the very top.

And while he encourages her to get the jab, he also reassured other teachers that the vaccine is completely safe and extremely effective.

Hon Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education
"The last report I got from the Ministry of Health which was just yesterday in Cabinet, I think he said about 52% of teachers had been vaccinated, we would love that to be much higher but it's a step in the right direction, just a few weeks ago it was around 30% so we've seen an increase of about 20% over the past month and we hope that that continues and that by the time August rolls around we'll be over 70, close to 80% or more. It's not a requirement for teachers to be vaccinated to return to school but certainly we would much prefer our teachers all get vaccinated, we think it's in their best interest, it's in the best interest of their students and communities so we are doing everything possible to make it easier for teachers to get vaccinated. Where we have more than 10 teachers in a school that want to get vaccinated, we talk to the Ministry of Health and they send a mobile unit to vaccinate them so that has helped as well so we need to find even more creative ways of ensuring that our teachers get vaccinated. I think my friend, the president of the BNTU, Senator Elena, I tease her, you know she's publicly said she's afraid of needles, I tease her that she needs to overcome her fear and lead by example, I'm still hoping she takes it on and gets the vaccine. I think it's very important for teachers to understand and appreciate that it's very safe and the vaccine is effective, very effective, in fact the Minister of Health reported to us yesterday that there were a number of people at Princess who had gotten vaccinated and they had absolutely no symptoms, no symptoms at all. So a real fine example of the advantages of getting the vaccine."

Channel 7