Covid-19 vaccination of children 5-11 years begins tomorrow

The Ministry of Health will begin the roll- out of the Covid-19 vaccination for children ages 5 to 11 tomorrow, June 11, with a drive-through and walk -in at the National Cultural Centre Tarmac.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony is urging parents and guardians to take advantage of this opportunity to get their children who are in that age cohort vaccinated.

Children from the 5-11 age category at the airport to welcome the arrival of the Pfizer Vaccines to Guyana on Monday June 6.

“We know that the vaccines are safe, they work, they would benefit children, but accessibility globally is a problem, we are very, very fortunate to be able to get these vaccines, and we hope that people would come out and ensure that they get these vaccines,” Dr. Anthony said.  

The minister noted that the vaccines have been widely used in places like North America, and Europe and have been found to be quite effective.

Some 52,800 doses of vaccines arrived in the country on June 6, from Spain and will be administered to 26,400 children on a two-dose schedule.

Dr. Anthony said the government has worked diligently to procure the vaccines and to bring them into Guyana.

“We are very grateful to the government of Spain because they were the ones who donated these vaccines. These vaccines would have cost quite a lot of money, and they are not easily available so many countries still do not have access to them,” Dr Anthony noted.

The drive- through and walk- in vaccination exercise begins at 8 hours and ends at 16 hours.

“Children must come with parent or guardian. They would be required to give consent, before we can do the vaccination. We have the consent forms that are available, it’s a relatively simple process, so staff will be able to ask the parent or the guardian a few questions, and depending on how they answer we will be able to make that determination on administering the vaccine,” Dr Anthony said.  

Primary School children who are age eligible for vaccination

The questionnaire will determine whether or not the child has any allergy to vaccines or comorbidities, to determine whether or not the vaccine should be administered.

“I guess maybe more than 90 percent of the children, once they come, they will be able to get the vaccines, and there will be a smaller percent which we will have to make some deliberations on,” Dr Anthony said.

Statistics in Guyana show that some 2,028 children between five to 11 years have thus far tested positive for Covid-19.

“Our stats would have shown that we had a lot of children that go infected, and therefore, we have to take the precautions. Now one of our big challenges was that we did not have a vaccine for 11-5 nor do we have a vaccine for the five to the younger age group, we now have that vaccine, we want to offer that vaccine and therefore, I think people should take this opportunity,” he urged.

Dr. Anthony reiterated that vaccination would prevent children from getting a more severe form of Covid-19, from being hospitalised or even dying from the disease.

He outlined the symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or (MIS-C) which affects the heart, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs in children infected with COVID-19.

He said other children have also been affected by long covid.