Covid: Vaccination among 12-17 age group still a challenge – Health Minister

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Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony is urging parents to get their children vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, especially as the nation prepares for the full reopening of schools after the Easter holidays.

He said during today’s Covid-19 update that there have been challenges in getting the 12-17 age cohort vaccinated, despite several measures put in place by the government.

“While, we would have had campaigns at some schools and so forth, we were not able to vaccinate a lot of children, because they did not get permission from their parents,” Dr. Anthony said.

He noted that while children present with mild symptoms, the vaccine can provide added protection and is therefore urging parents to ensure their children are fully covered.

“I really hope that we will see an uptake in this age group,” Dr. Anthony said.

So far only 46.8 per cent of the 12-17 age group has had a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Of the 18-39 age category, 82.9 per cent took a first dose, while 59.5 per cent are fully vaccinated. Another six percent has taken a booster shot, while in the 40-59 age category, 84.2 percent has taken a first dose, 69.9 percent took a second dose, while only 12.5 percent has taken a booster.

For the 60 and above age category, 84 percent has taken a first dose while 74.6 percent has had a second dose, 23.8 percent of that age cohort has had a booster shot.

Minister Anthony said such a percentage is inadequate and appealed to older persons to get their booster doses.

“Most of these persons that we see coming into the hospital, they have been unvaccinated, and therefore, one of the things that I really want to urge people to do is to make sure that they are vaccinated.”

Currently there are 197 active Covid-19 cases across the country with 20 currently hospitalised of which five are in the ICU.