Parents welcome COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11 years

Parents of children ages 5-11 years, on Saturday took the opportunity to get their children vaccinated, as the Ministry of Health began its vaccination campaign for children in this age cohort.

Guyana, on June 6 received a shipment of 52,800 doses of specially formulated Pfizer vaccines for children, ages 5-11 years old, a donation from the Government of Spain.

In a walk – in, drive- through exercise at the National Cultural Centre tarmac, parents brought their children to get vaxxed.

Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony interacts with parents and children at the vaccination drive

Among those who were vaccinated were eight-year-old Janae Persaud.

“I felt good that I get the vaccine because it will make my family proud, and it will keep me safe,” she told DPI.

“I feel good I took the vaccine…my mom told me that I have to get it, and I want to make sure that my friends are safe,” stated Emma John, another child who took the vaccine.

Vaccination drive for children 5-11 years of age

Several parents also shared their sentiments.

“My two daughters are here, Emma and Ella, they are both vaccinated, everything went really well, the whole process is well coordinated, said Aubrey John.

I want to be part of ensuring that the population is safe in that I know I’m fully vaccinated, and if I have the opportunity of having my children vaccinated, I know if they were to get Covid, they will recover faster,” she added. 

Another parent, Deryck Persaud who took his two children to get vaccinated noted that it is an international requirement, and urged parents to follow the guidance of the Ministry of Health.

“We would want to encourage everyone living in this wonderful land of ours to ensure their children are vaccinated, so use the opportunity, it’s free, you don’t have to pay for it and you need to come out and do what is best,” Persaud said.

Deryck Persaud, Parent

Devika Rambarran took her three children ages 6,9 and 11 to get vaccinated. She said this is important since already, two of them are having face to face classes and she wants to keep them safe.

“We have had like pockets of outbreaks in schools, and so for me I feel that once we can protect them with a vaccine, then we have a little bit more relaxed sense then.”

Devika Rambarran, Parent

Yashoda Dukhbhanjan is a parent and teacher who expressed her relief that her child can finally be vaccinated.

“After so long I think it’s actually good that the children are vaccinated now. Being a teacher and all, we see children getting sick in school, like not many but a few, but then they are all excited to go back to school, and then with the learning loss and everything, it’s good that they are actually giving them now,” she said.

Shawn Ally, another parent is urging all parents to get their children vaccinated.

” I would encourage each and every parent to come out and have the vaccine for their kids because it’s better for the whole environment, and the kids are back to school and they are still playing with each other, and you know, you can’t stop that from them being close together so it’s something good and they should get vaccinated,” Ally said.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, noted that based on the response to this shipment of vaccines, the government has a backup plan in place to access another 60, 000 doses.

“This was an event we were planning for a long time; we had anticipated that we would have been able to access these vaccines for a while now, but there were lots of challenges, getting vaccines for this age group because, there is a global shortage of these types of vaccines, we were however, very pleased when we approached the government of Spain that they readily agreed to donate these pediatric doses to us,” Dr. Anthony told members of the media.

He noted that permission slips will be given out to schools through a collaboration with the Ministry of Education, and schools with a larger percentage of parents agreeing to have their children vaccinated will be visited.

This will make the most beneficial use of time, and more children will be vaccinated.

Health Advisor, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, told the media that no child will be left behind in this campaign.

“The fact of the matter is, Covid is not over. Too many of us believe that Covid has come, did its thing and has left, it has not left, and indeed what the world is finding is the emergence of newer variants, some of which have learnt to escape the vaccine, and if we don’t take advantage now of vaccinating our children our elderly, and all persons from five and above we are creating the platform for new variants,” Dr. Ramsammy said.

Health Advisor, Dr Leslie Ramsammy

Guyana is one of the first countries in this region to acquire the Pfizer vaccines, for children 5-11 years. The Ministry of Health is urging parents and guardians to make use of this opportunity to get their children vaccinated.