Guyana today 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.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand said every effort will be made to ensure every parent or guardian has access to these consent forms.
She noted that there are some 56,000 students attending secondary schools in the country and apart from them, there are children who are qualified to receive the vaccines who are outside of the traditional school system. She explained that there are children who are attending TVET institutions or children who simply do not go to school who are also eligible to receive the vaccine.
Additionally, the Education Minister made it clear that the government is not making vaccination mandatory for children, but strongly urged parents to give their consent as it is the responsible decision to make in light of the current pandemic.
Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony assured that healthcare workers have been adequately trained to administer these vaccines to children.
The administration of these vaccines is expected to begin very soon.
Moreover, the Health Minister also spoke about the importance of the vaccines for children, given that the Covid variants are posing a greater threat to this younger section of the population.
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.