Algerian universities are scrambling to get students and faculty and staff members vaccinated against Covid-19 by the start of the academic year on October 4.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research put the starting date back by one month in hope of vaccinating 70 percent of the target population of 1.35 million.
“We prefer to postpone the academic season and expand the vaccination process to achieve the goal of herd immunity among the university family, instead of venturing into launching the academic year and being forced to stop it again if the infection index rises,” said Boualem Saidani, director of training at the ministry. (See a related article, “Libya’s Universities Close Again Due to Covid-19.”)
So far, 130,000 people at universities have received the Chinese vaccine Sinovac in a two-stage program that is targeting administrative staff members and freshmen first, then professors and other students. The figure does not include those vaccinated outside Algeria’s 109 public universities and higher-education institutes.
El-Khair Kashi, head of the Coordination Committee of Higher Education and Scientific Research Institutions, said instructions had been given to speed up the process.