VIENTIANE, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- Lao Ministry of Health asked education and sports officials around the country to work with local authorities to assess the number of schoolchildren aged 12 to 17 eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Education authorities suggested vaccinations for schoolchildren after numerous problems were encountered with online classes, which have been recommended while schools are closed, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday.

Many families have been unable to provide this kind of education for their children, while Internet access was patchy and unreliable in most areas.

The hope is that if sufficient numbers of children can be vaccinated, schools will be considered safe and allowed to reopen.

Speaking at a media briefing on Monday, Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control, under the Ministry of Health, Rattanaxay Phetsouvanh, said the education ministry is working with other ministries to collect information about students who have been affected by the pandemic and have attempted online learning at home.

"We cannot say when or whether schools will resume on-site classes, as this depends on the amount of vaccine available for the vaccination of students," he said.

However, the government may decide to allow schools to reopen based on the extent of problems experienced with online and on-air studies, as it is important that children do not fall far behind with the curriculum.