Guyana hopes to begin vaccinating younger children next week as US FDA approval imminent


With US health advisers meeting today to debate whether the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should grant emergency authorisation to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, Guyana’s Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony is already anticipating an approval and indicated that the country is prepared to begin such a rollout from next week.

“Starting from next week, we’re already examining the possibility of doing the vaccination for the 11 to 5 age group because we’re anticipating that the US FDA would approve the Pfizer vaccine for this age group as well,” he revealed today during an update on the Covid-19 situation here.

The coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech is currently approved in the United States for people ages 12 and older. This vaccine is also already being used in Guyana to immunise its adolescent population.

In Guyana, 26,966 or 37% of that age cohort have received a first dose while 17,489 or 24% are fully immunised.

However, Dr Anthony has already expressed concerns over an apparent slowdown of the uptake of the vaccine among this population and he noted that authorities are working closely with the Education Ministry to boost the numbers.

In this regard, the Health Minister encouraged parents to ensure their children are immunised so that they can stand a better chance at fighting off the disease.

According to reports, Pfizer has said its research showed that younger children should get a third of the vaccine dose currently being given to the older age group.

While initial research had shown that children are at lower risk of contracting the virus and if they do, they get the milder form of the disease, the situation has been changing with the spread of the variants.

To date in Guyana, over 5500 children have been infected with the virus and some of them have also died.