Scores of adolescents receive Pfizer vaccine at Movie Towne drive through

The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Education on Sunday hosted a COVID-19 vaccination drive through for children 12 to 17 years old, at Movie Towne.

The drive through saw hundreds of children being inoculated with the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approved Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine will prepare students for face-to-face learning when school reopens on September 6.  

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, MP, administers the vaccine to a student.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, MP, and Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, MP, expressed satisfaction at the turnout.

“Which we want to happen because we want schools to reopen safely. So, I’m extremely pleased with the response and the staff here, we’re going to try to do as much as we can to expedite so that we can see a lot more people today”, Minister Anthony stated. 

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, MP, distributing consent forms to the parents

He said it would be quite normal for  children to have side effects, as this occurs with some people after taking any vaccine.

“Side effects means that you would get a little pain probably at the injection site, you might get fever over the next 24 hours or so but these are all things that are expected”, the Minister alluded.

Meanwhile, Minister Manickchand said the Government is pleased at the responses to the vaccination.  

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, MP, talking to parents

“If we are to deliver to our children, education, that would make it effective and making them employable, marketable, knowledgeable, productive Guyanese citizens then normalcy is what has to happen in that sector so we’re very glad about that”, Minister Manickchand said.

She added that the vaccination of teachers is also vital to the reopening of schools.

“We have more than 50 per cent of our teachers vaccinated, that’s not a number people know. People have been bashing teachers but the majority of teachers have done the right thing and we expect that in the coming days we’ll see more teachers getting vaccinated,” she said.

A teen receiving her vaccine

Meanwhile, several parents and children lauded the Government’s efforts to make the vaccine available to them.  

Amanda Khellawan told DPI that she was initially concerned about the vaccines,  but now believes that the jab will protect her child.

“At first, I was worried, I had the necessary concerns that everybody has but with Corona spreading so rapidly and the Delta variant as well, I feel taking the vaccine would protect my child in the event, he contracts the Coronavirus.…I know there are a lot of parents with reservations but I would encourage them because our children interact with other children who wouldn’t be vaccinated and that’s a major concern.”

Meanwhile, her son, Vishaul Babulall,16, said the process was nothing scary and encouraged his peers to take the vaccines.

Persons awaiting their vaccines

Ramesh Manram said he thought it was important to have his children vaccinated as school is about to reopen.

“I encourage them to take the vaccines because school opening and protection is for themselves and for others. So, I fill the form and I signed it for them to take the vaccine.”

Annette Baskh related that she was eagerly awaiting the approval of a vaccine that caters for adolescents to keep her entire family safe. She also encouraged other parents to do the same.

Persons utilising the drive through facility to take their vaccines

“I think that this is a great initiative and I did a bit of research as well and I know that the vaccines are very effective so this is one of the reasons why we chose to ensure that our children are fully vaccinated. Myself and family we’re also fully vaccinated and I would also like to encourage all the parents out there to bring down their kids and ensure that they get the vaccine so that they can return to some sense of normalcy”, she said.

Several vaccination drives at schools across the country are expected during the course of this week. The names and locations of the schools have been published on the ministries social media pages.