President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) Mark Lyte said that some teachers, who are not yet vaccinated, are interested in the Pfizer jabs meant for children, but Education Minister Priya Manickchand says that only children will receive this vaccine now.
Earlier in the week, 146,250 doses of these vaccines arrived in Guyana but these are expected to be distributed exclusively to children. And during a Zoom meeting on Wednesday night, Lyte said that the union would make representation for interested teachers to get the Pfizer vaccines.
But, the Education Minister told the News Room that children need the protection that this specific vaccine offers. Importantly, this vaccine has been granted emergency use authorisation for use in children; the other vaccines used locally – the Sinopharm, Sputnik V, and AstraZeneca vaccines- have not received that authorisation for use in children.
“The world is in a crisis, these are the only vaccines that children can use and children are precious, we have to protect them,” Manickchand said.
Later, she reasoned that once all of the children are vaccinated, it may be possible for some other groups of people (that is, adults) to receive the vaccines.
Meanwhile, also responding to statements from the GTU, the minister said that the decision made by the government to require a negative PCR test result if employees are not vaccinated was not one made to punish anyone.
Instead, she contended that such decisions were made in the best interest of the population at large. And, she encouraged teachers to get vaccinated.