Parents have to ‘show interest’ and encourage vaccination among teens- Health Min.

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There is a lower-than-expected vaccination uptake among the children currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony says that more parents need to encourage their children to get vaccinated.

During his daily COVID-19 update on Thursday, he reminded the public that these children need parental consent to get these vaccines.

“We can have all the infrastructure but if the parents show no interest and not encouraging their children to be vaccinated, then it is going to be difficult to get them vaccinated,” Dr. Anthony lamented.

Currently, children aged 12 to 17 years old are only receiving the US-made Pfizer vaccines to help protect them against the novel coronavirus. And already, some 30,171 children (or 41. 4 per cent of this targeted population) have received the first dose while 21, 471 children have received both their first and second doses.

Because it has been announced that secondary school students in all levels, except Form One (Grade Seven), will make a full return to face-to-face classes from January 3, the Health Minister says vaccination is important.

But the Health Minister also pointed out that the looming threat of the new Omicron variant signals a greater need for children to get vaccinated. In doing so, they would be protected.

So far, only Region Nine (Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo) has been able to record a 100 per cent first dose coverage of its teenagers; 83 per cent of those teenagers have received both doses.

Regions Four, Seven and 10 are, however, lagging behind. Region 10 in particular is concerning since this region is also lagging behind in the vaccination of its adults also.

And so Dr. Anthony commented, “There is room for a lot of improvement.”

Aside from the focus on children, Dr. Anthony also called on adults to come forward for their vaccines- whether first or second doses or the booster shots.

There are currently 28 people hospitalised across the country after experiencing the more serious and life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19. Of that number, 21 patients are receiving critical care in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the National Infectious Disease hospital at Liliendaal, Georgetown.

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