Teens’ booster shots stalled until low vaccination rate goes higher

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Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony says that the government will not yet introduce COVID-19 booster doses for teenagers since less than half of the adolescent population received their first and second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Teenagers- that is, those individuals aged 12 to 17 years- have been receiving the US-made Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine exclusively, since last year. Parental permission is needed before these jabs can be administered.

Since last month, however, the local authorities have been examining whether a COVID-19 booster dose is necessary for teenagers who were already fully immunised with their first and second doses.

But on Wednesday, during his daily COVID-19 update, Dr. Anthony said that the Health Ministry is not yet ready to roll out booster doses for this age group.

“We first would like to see more adolescents taking the primary doses of the vaccines which is the first and second dose,” he said.

Only 34,398 teenagers (or 47.2 per cent of the adolescent population) took at least one Pfizer COVID-19 dose; 25,148 teenagers (34.5 per cent) took both their first and second doses.

Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony.

With the uptake of under half of the targeted population, the Health Minister said that there is much room for improvement. He added that the ministry is seeking to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of teenagers locally.

“We want to encourage parents who have not vaccinated their children to do so as quickly as possible.

“Use the opportunity of the Easter holidays to make sure that your child is ready for school when school reopens,” he said.

As previously announced by the Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, all schools are set to reopen at the end of April when the new school term commences.

Meanwhile, there has been a marginal uptake in the number of adults who have taken their booster doses. A total of 60,447 adults have taken this third vaccine dose; booster doses are available for all adults.

Overall, a total of 439,027 adults (or 85.6 per cent of the adult population) have taken at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose; 338,089 adults (or 65.9 per cent) have taken both their first and second doses.

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