More than 80 percent of eligible students nationwide have registered for Pfizer vaccinations, reflecting the high demand for the return of ‘on-site’ studying, the Thai Education Minister stated today, October 4th.
Minister Trinuch Thienthong revealed during the vaccination kickoff ceremony, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha, at Pibool Uppatham School, Bangkok, that the first day of the vaccination that began today will be administered to students aged 15-18 years in 13 districts in 15 provinces under the supervision of the Public Health Ministry.
The number of parents who consented to have their children vaccinated has reached more than 80 percent of all eligible students nationwide, according to Trinuch. The Thai government expected that more parents will register for vaccination once they see that other students have been vaccinated without problems or side effects. The latest registration processes will be constantly updated to both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Health overall, Trinuch added. Trinuch also stated, however, that vaccination would not be mandatory for return to school, continuing to stress this point that was a concern to some parents, stating that vaccination was only “part” of an overall plan to return students to in-person schooling.
Trinuch stated at the vaccination kickoff ceremony: “If students are fully vaccinated, it is expected that the second semester of schooling, in-person, will be able to start on November 1st. However, the exact opening dates will be decided later and subject to the consideration of the Provincial Communicable Disease Committee of each province as to which is the most suitable and the safest studying method for students and teachers during the reopening. Some provinces may feel they are ready to open to students for in-person schooling in November, based on the Governor and disease committees and some may not.”
“The vaccination is only part of our plan for reopening and again, won’t be mandatory, but highly suggested for students. All education institutions must also abide by other health measures when reopening, including social distancing, temperature checks, proper ventilation, and providing hand sanitizer for students and school staff, etc.”
A parent of a high school student who accompanied her child at the vaccination kickoff told reporters that she agreed to have her child vaccinated because she felt that the vaccine itself is safe and also wanted them to return to the on-site classroom as soon as possible.
“Honestly, I want the school and in-person, classes to start soon because my children did not acquire proper education when studying online,” she added.
A 15-year-old Mattayom 3 student told the Thai press that she did not have any concerns about receiving the vaccine today because she and her family have been carefully studying side effects prior to the registration. She decided to receive the Pfizer vaccine mainly because she wanted to go to school as quickly as possible as the required online classes were not good for how she preferred to learn.
“Online learning has a huge impact on students. For example, some of my classmates don’t have enough equipment, making them unable to study online. They couldn’t catch up with classmates properly. Friends and teachers have to help those out by giving them some worksheets and help explain studying content, which can be a struggle.” She told reporters.
Students have been out of school overall in most of Thailand for about half a year now, since April. Some provinces, mostly in rural areas where Covid-19 cases have been low, have allowed schooling, but highly populated areas like Bangkok and Chonburi have been shut for six months. As stated, many schools in the closed areas have attempted to provide online learning but the majority of parents, children, and teachers have continued to state this is not a suitable replacement for in-person learning and also makes it difficult for working parents to be able to balance a job and take care of their children, affecting the economy as a result.
Interestingly, polls conducted amongst our mostly foreign readers and parents of children attending school in Thailand were mostly negative towards the idea of vaccinating their children, the opposite of the reaction of similar polls conducted towards Thai parents. You can read those unscientific, informal polls we conducted by clicking here.
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