Saudi Arabia vaccinates more than 90% of pupils and school staff

The ministry of education urges education sector employees to receive two Covid-19 vaccine doses

More than 90 per cent of staff and pupils at schools across Saudi Arabia are now vaccinated against Covid-19, the kingdom's education minister has said.

The kingdom has opened up vaccinations to everyone over the age of 12 and also made inoculation mandatory for children and staff to return to classes.

Education Minister Dr Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sheikh said that 96.2 per cent of school staff and 90.5 per cent of pupils have now received a vaccine.

Addressing a meeting of GCC education ministers, he said the kingdom had succeeded in transforming to meet the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on public education, according to Saudi Press Agency.

Schools in the kingdom started returning to in-person classes for the first time in a year last month with strict safety measures in place.

The ministry had mandated that all education sector employees and pupils over 12 years receive two Covid-19 vaccine doses and enforce the precautionary measures and health requirements adopted by the Saudi Health Ministry and the Public Health Authority in all educational institutes.

Dr Al Sheikh said Saudi Arabia gave great importance to public education at all local, regional and international levels, through implementing several development projects to prepare children to keep pace with future changes.

During the meeting, Dr Al Sheikh explained that the Education Ministry carried out several development projects for the new academic year, including developing curriculums and study plans and implementing the three-semester academic year.

He said education in the kingdom had made significant leaps in e-learning and distance education through the “Madrasati” platform, which provided online education for public schools and was ranked among the best seven global e-learning platforms, the state news agency said.

The Health Ministry on Monday reported 70 new Covid-19 cases and 81 recoveries over the past 24 hours. The number of active cases reached 2,357 with 343 deemed critical.

The ministry reported five new deaths, bringing the total fatalities in the kingdom to 8,661 since the pandemic began.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia lifted travel restrictions from the UAE, South Africa and Argentina, meaning that people can travel to and from those destinations. The Interior Ministry announcement came after an evaluation of the Covid-19 situation, state media reported.

The kingdom has eased its coronavirus measures and vaccinated residents are allowed to return to Saudi Arabia, even from red-list countries. After being closed to tourists for 17 months, Saudi Arabia started welcoming back vaccinated travellers from August 1.

Updated: September 20th 2021, 9:12 AM