Govt launches Covid-19 immunisation programme for children

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Students Danah Shiwgobin and Ramond Cummings receiving their first jabs of the Covid-19 vaccine
Students Danah Shiwgobin and Ramon Cummings receiving their first jabs of the Covid-19 vaccine

The Guyana Government today launched its Covid-19 immunisation campaign for children between the ages of 12 and 18 following the receipt of 146,250 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines on Tuesday.

The launch took place at the St Stanislaus College where the first jabs were given to students Danah Shiwgobin and Ramon Cummings.

No clear information was given regarding how the government intends to roll out this programme countrywide, but Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony had previously indicated that the public will be duly informed.

It is expected that the vaccines will be available at health centres and schools countrywide.

The launch was attended by the Health Minister as well as Education Minister Priya Manickchand and Officer in Charge at PAHO/WHO Guyana Dr Jean Alexandre as well as Charge de’ Affaires of the U.S Embassy, Mark Cullinane.

Dr Anthony has since appealed to parents and guardians to allow their adolescent children to be vaccinated against the deadly novel coronavirus.

“I hope that a lot of people come forward to start getting vaccinated because it’s the first time that we are able now to offer the vaccines for children between 12 and 18. So I really do hope that parents take the opportunity to get their child vaccinated.

“As you know we want to open school on the 6th of September, so if you want your child to be safe and protected from Covid, that one way of doing so, apart from taking the regular public health measures, would be to get them vaccinated and we are now offering this vaccine that we will try to roll it out as quickly as possible,” Minister Anthony said.

Guyana on Tuesday received 146,250 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines which arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri.

These vaccines, which were donated by the United States Government, will be offered to children between the ages of 12 and 18 and are a crucial component in the reopening of schools which is scheduled for September 6.

The Ministry of Education had sent consent forms to parents and guardians to give permission for their children to receive the vaccine.

To date, over 4000 students have been granted consent to receive the vaccine and this number is expected to increase significantly in the coming days.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95%.

Pfizer’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccine has now received full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – the first jab to be licensed in the US.

The vaccine had initially been given emergency use authorisation. Its two jabs, three weeks apart, are now fully approved for those aged 16 and older.

It still has emergency use authorisation for children aged 12 to 15.

Parental consent forms for this vaccine have been delivered to schools and can be downloaded from the Ministry’s website at: https://education.gov.gy/covid-vaccine. Parents can also fill an e-form which can be submitted to indicate their consent.

This can be accessed at: https://education.gov.gy/PfizerRegistration. Also, if parents are unable to submit the physical copies, they can take a photograph of the completed form and submit it via WhatsApp to telephone number: 652-9144.