COVID-19 vaccination campaign for adolescents to be taken into communities
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, MP, says the COVID-19 immunisation campaign for adolescents will be taken into the respective communities.
Speaking with DPI during the roll out of the vaccination campaign at St. Joseph’s High School, on Monday, the Minister said while countries in the Caribbean have established fixed vaccination sites for children, Government will make the vaccines easily accessible.
“We want to make sure we can go to the communities of children. I see other Caribbean countries saying we have seven locations or nine stations, we’re not saying that. In Guyana we’re saying that we come into your village school, we come into your community school, we are coming to a place close to you, to make it easy for people to access this vaccine, as well as to make sure children don’t have to travel long distances to get it.”
Minister Manickchand reiterated that while vaccines are not mandatory, it is strongly advised that persons are immunised against the disease. She urged parents and guardians of children between the ages of 12 and 17 to ensure they are vaccinated.
She also urged parents to exercise patience when visiting vaccination sites, as there may be short waiting period before their children receive the shot.
“We’re asking parents to just bring their children. You don’t have to go to your school, necessarily, I mean, it would be best if you did, but if you miss that date, you can go to any other location to get it…as much as we prefer to just walk in and walk out and get service, there will be some amount of a wait time, but I think it’s worth it considering what is at stake here. This is a vaccine that could save the life of your children and parents and grandparents in the home.”
Meanwhile, DPI spoke with several students who were eager to take the vaccine.
Thirteen-year-old Lawrence Bailey of North Georgetown Secondary School said he felt great after taking his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine.
“I think it’s a next step to get the country back to normal because as you can see cases are rising and it [vaccine] is an assistance to the country to help with inoculation of the public.”
Angeline Juman, a former Bishop’s High School student said she was excited when she heard vaccines will be available for teens and wanted to ensure she got her jab. She, along with her brother, Jayden Juman, a Grade Nine Queen’s College student were at St. Joseph’s High to receive their first doses.
Last Tuesday, Guyana received 146,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the United States Government for the immunisation of the adolescent population here. The Pfizer vaccine donation is part of a larger donation of 5.5 million doses to CARICOM.