The UAE has approved two vaccines for use, the Pfizer BioNtech and the Chinese made Sinopharm inoculation. It is not yet clear which of these will be made available to students. The UAE aims to vaccinate more than 50% of the population against the virus by April.
The news is likely to raise the spirits of school leaders, parents and students who have all been hit hard by school closures. Older, more social students have been the most likely to catch the virus, the same age group looking ahead to the crucial exams of summer 2021. With confirmed cases on the rise in many schools, there has been a rapid increase in the number of schools returning to distance learning in recent days.
Authorities will be hoping the vaccine represents a way in which UAE schools can escape the case-closure-distance learning cycle. How successful the move is in this regard will depend, at least in part, upon uptake in the crucial age groups.