Abu Dhabi: Hundreds of children have been vaccinated at a new pop-up vaccination centre that is offering COVID-19 vaccines at Yas Mall to those aged 12 years or more.
Both school-going children and university students have availed of COVID-19 vaccine doses at the pop-up facility that is running until Saturday, August 7. The facility has been organised by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek), in collaboration with the Department of Health — Abu Dhabi (DoH), the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, Mubadala Health and Yas Mall.
The centre is open daily from 12pm to 8pm, and offers the Pfizer vaccine. It is one of many efforts to encourage COVID-19 vaccination among children in a bid to make schooling safer for all.
On Monday, the Ministry of Education and the Adek announced that COVID-19 vaccination is a mandatory requirement to attend school in person for all students aged 16 or older. This means that students in this age group must have received both doses of a UAE-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days before the start of school, and this must be verified on the student’s Alhosn app account.
Only students with vaccination exemptions can enter school premises if they 16 years old or more, provided the exemption is verified on the Alhosn app, or via an official letter from a DoH-authorise vaccination provider.
Younger children are also being encouraged to get the vaccine for their own safety.
The UAE has since also approved the emergency use of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for children three years and older, whereas the Pfizer vaccine is currently available to children aged at least 12 years.
“Today, I took the first step towards a safe return to school, especially as this is the first time that I will return to face-to-face learning since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic,” said Omar Ahmad Adnan, 14.
“I am already looking forward to meeting my friends and teachers, whom I did not meet all last year. I would like to encourage my friends to get the vaccine as it guarantees our safe return to school, and help protect our community,” he added.
“We are excited to be able to return to school for the next academic year,” said Hamdan Obaid, who came to the pop-up vaccination center with his younger brother.
“We are fully aware that getting the vaccine is a key enabler for a safe return to school. I miss the times I used to have with my friends during break times, and the unique learning experience in classroom. My brother and I did not hesitate to receive the vaccine at the pop-up vaccination center, which [was easy, and with a] confirmed the date for the second dose,” Obaid said.
To avoid overcrowding at the pop-up facility, only one guardian may accompany children. While prior booking is not necessary, students must present their Emirates ID and Alhosn app. Those aged 16 years or more must also show a negative PCR test result with a month’s validity.