80% of students now have at least one jab

80% of students now have at least one jab

Vaccinations of 12-18 group speed up, enabling more schools to offer in-person classes

Students at Bodindecha School on Ramkhamhaeng Road in Bangkok attend an on-site class on Thursday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Students at Bodindecha School on Ramkhamhaeng Road in Bangkok attend an on-site class on Thursday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

About 3.11 million students aged 12 and up, or 80.65% of the total nationwide, have now received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, a government spokesman said on Saturday.

Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has been closely following efforts to expand the availability of in-person classroom learning to students as the new semester got under way this week.

According to the Department of Disease Control, of the 3.85 million students aged 12-18 who had registered for vaccinations, around 2.5 million students, or 55% of the total, have received their first jab and 600,000, or about 13%, have got the second shot.

They comprised Grade 6 pupils, Mathayom Suksa 1-6 (Grade 7 to 12) and vocational college students.

Schools have been closed for most students since the third wave of the Covid outbreak began in April. The Education Ministry has made reopening classrooms a priority as it realises that online learning has its limitations.

Prior to the start of the semester on Nov 1, the Department of Health began screening more than 37,100 schools for their Covid management measures and has approved 35,193 of them for reopening.

So far, 12,110 schools across the country are now providing on-site learning. Others are providing a mix of on-site and online instruction, said Mr Thanakorn.

Gen Prayut has instructed the Education and Public Health ministries to put more emphasis on measures to reduce the risk of virus transmission at schools and improve safety for students at all levels, the spokesman added.

A total of 809,783 teachers and educational staff have so far received their first vaccine dose and 561,007 have received their second shot.

Vaccinations would be sped up for the 84,604 teachers and educational personnel who have not yet been inoculated, said Mr Thanakorn.

As of Friday, 43.8 million people of all ages nationwide, or 62.8% of the population, have received a first dose, 33.5 million (48.1%) have received a second dose and 2.5 million have received a third dose.

Authorities are also keeping a close watch on reports of Covid infections being reported in schools. In one case in Mukdahan this week, rapid antigen tests returned nearly 90 positive results, but further RT-PCR tests all proved negative.

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