GEMS Education launches its school-wide Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine drive for students aged 12 and over

24th May 2021

  • GEMS Education aims to vaccinate 8,000 of its eligible students in Dubai this week
  • Over 1,800 students have already received the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine  
  • Dubai-wide schools vaccination drive is in collaboration with the Dubai authorities  

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: GEMS Education, the region’s largest private education group, has launched a schools vaccination drive with the aim of vaccinating over 8,000 eligible students aged 12 years and over in Dubai following the latest initiative of the UAE authorities.

The drive, which began on Sunday 23 May, is in collaboration with the authorities who are supplying doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to schools across the emirate.

Elmarie Venter, Chief Operations Officer, at GEMS Education, said: “GEMS Education has already started the vaccination drive with the vaccine for our students aged 12 and over, following the very welcome initiative last week of the authorities. More than 42,000 GEMS students are eligible to be vaccinated and 8,000 will be having this done this week - 1,800 have already received the vaccine.

“GEMS will continue its work throughout the summer to ensure all our schools remain as safe as possible for our communities and we are delighted to welcome 1,600 new teachers in August. These new teachers will also be vaccinated to join 14,700 GEMS teachers and school support staff who have already received a vaccine.

“Our number one priority will always be the health and safety of our school communities, and we firmly believe that with this campaign of vaccinations for all students aged 12 and over, we can take a big step towards all our pupils safely returning to the classroom. Our parents have been extremely supportive throughout, and have welcomed all the health and safety measures that we have taken to ensure this.”

GEMS Education is also working with the authorities in Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah to introduce a similar campaign for students there in due course.

Parents of students who are attending in-person classes, as well as those that have been learning online, have all positively received the campaign and have spoken of their appreciation of the authorities’ provision of the vaccine through schools.

Michael Pantoja, parent at GEMS Winchester School – Dubai, said: “The vaccine drive has been very convenient for us as a family. We had been looking around for where to get our kids vaccinated so it’s really good that this has provided this for us. My sons have been learning online 100% this year, but we were looking to send them back provided that they have the vaccine, so this is a great opportunity for us.”

Students also felt an increased sense of security and optimism knowing that a larger proportion of their schoolmates will be vaccinated before the new academic year.

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Saira Sambhar, Year 9 student at GEMS Wellington International School, said: “I feel really lucky to be able to get the vaccine through school. In some countries even the adults don’t have the vaccine yet, and we do. I’m looking forward to the next academic year and not feeling anxious or worrying that people might be sick.”

Maryssa O’Connor, Principal/CEO at GEMS Wellington International School, said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic the support of our whole school community has enabled our students to continue their outstanding educational experience at our schools. I would like to particularly thank our parents for their additional support with the current GEMS vaccination programme, which has been implemented by the authorities. This strategy will ensure that our students and school community stay as safe as possible.
I hope that this vaccination programme enables the return to the classroom of all our students as quickly as possible.”