More than a third of all schoolchildren in the United Arab Emirates and the majority of teaching staff have now been vaccinated against COVID-19, health officials in the country have announced.
During a weekly COVID-19 briefing, Dr Saif al-Dhaheri, spokesperson for the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, said 36 percent of all pupils had been vaccinated while inoculations among education and support staff had reached 89.5 percent.
Officials said there would be free testing in all private and public schools for all vaccinated pupils and staff every 30 days.
Dr al-Dhaheri also announced the results of a nationwide study which found that 73 percent of all parents wanted to see children return to classrooms – following more than a year of remote or hybrid learning – while 27 per cent preferred to continue with distance learning.
“We advise parents, administrative and academic staff to get vaccinated, which is available in all emirates, to ensure a safe environment that allows for knowledge while still following preventative measures,” NCEMA later tweeted.
It was also announced last month that all students and staff in Abu Dhabi private and charter schools are required to get a PCR test prior to returning to in-person learning, the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK).
All those returning to schools, including those who have been fully vaccinated, people of determination, administration staff and contractors, must present a negative PCR test result taken within 14 days of the first day of school, ADEK said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Our World in Data statistics show that the UAE is number one globally in the percentage of vaccinated individuals with two doses. It is also number one globally in the rate of doses distribution per 100 persons, for countries with a population of over one million.
“The UAE has managed the COVID-19 pandemic exceptionally and is considered one of the most successful examples international,” said NCEMA.
To date, 77.85 percent of the population has received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine while 89 percent have received one dose.