Small quantity of special COVID vaccines for younger children expected soon – Dr. Anthony

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Months after the local health authorities indicated that young children could start getting their special Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony says that some vaccines are expected in country soon.

These special vaccines are needed to immunise children aged five to 11 years old against the novel coronavirus. Local authorities have been trying to secure these jabs for months.

“We’re at that point where we believe we will get (the vaccines) very soon,” Dr. Anthony announced at a maternal and child health review meeting at the Grand Coastal Hotel on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) on Wednesday.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony (Photo: DPI)

He did not provide any specific date for the expected arrival of the vaccines nor did he state how many doses are expected.

Dr. Anthony, however, noted that once those vaccines arrive in Guyana, they will be distributed to all regions equitably. And he said that he hopes many parents will bring their children out to get the vaccines.

Children aged five to 11 years old require two Pfizer doses that measure about 10 micrograms. Comparatively, the older children (those aged 12 to 18) and adults receive doses that measure about 30 micrograms.

According to reports, these doses have to be mixed with certain amounts of saline before they are administered to both the children and adults. Once mixed, 0.2 millilitres (mL) dose is administered.

And to ensure that the required dosage for children aged five to 11 (10 micrograms) is not mixed up with the dosage administered to adults, the Pfizer Company has introduced a different vaccine packaging- that is, there is a unique label and different cap colour. This is being used in the United States of America (USA) which started to immunise children of this age group in November 2021.

With the expected arrival of the vaccines, the Health Minister also noted that local health care workers will require specific training on administering these jabs.

Meanwhile, as the country prepares for those vaccines, Dr. Anthony lamented the low uptake of the Pfizer vaccines offered to teenagers.

Though vaccines were made available to individuals aged 12 to 17 since August last year, first dose uptake has not gone past 50 per cent; second dose uptake lingers at around 36 per cent.

And Dr. Anthony had previously indicated an interest in giving booster shots to these teenagers. But the low uptake has constrained those intentions.

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