Guyana begins COVID vaccination for children 5 – 11


Two years and three months after Guyana recorded the first COVID-19 case and death in the country, children below the age of 11, for the first time on Saturday, began receiving the COVID-19 jab.

It comes as schools have fully reopened after a two-year lockdown with health and government officials saying they intend to ensure that every child is vaccinated.

With 52, 800 doses of the special (pediatric) Pfizer vaccine Guyana received from Spain, children between the ages of 5 – 11 began receiving the jab at the National Cultural Centre tarmac, Georgetown on Saturday.

Provisions were made for both walk-ins and persons interested in using the drive-thru with several attractions such as face painting for the children.

Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, an Advisor to the Ministry of Health, was the first to underscore the importance of vaccines at this time.

“COVID is not over. Too many of us believe that COVID has come, did its thing and has left. It has not left,” he told reporters.

Dr. Ramsammy encouraged parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated, explaining that the vaccines were specially designed for children.

A picture of the the special (pediatric) Pfizer vaccine

“It’s not like taking the adult ones, like what some countries are doing and dividing the dose, these are specifically designed for the children,” he added.

According to the Ministerial Advisor, the government is hopeful that no child will be left behind.

“From the government perspective, no child will be left behind. We have obtained all the vaccines necessary and will do campaigns like this across the country,” the former Health Minister said.

There are roughly between 13, 000 and 15, 000 children between the 5 – 7 age cohort in the country.

“From our perspective, we will leave no child behind, however, we can come to you but we can’t force you to take it.”

Dr. Ramsammy said the vaccines will be available at health centres across the country but the Mministry will also be going to schools.

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said talks are ongoing with the Ministry of Education.

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony (center) [ Photo: Ministry of Health/ June 11, 2022]
“We are working with various schools sending out the request slip for permissions and what we will do is to go to those schools with a larger percentage of parents agreeing so we make the most beneficial use of our time and vaccinate more children,” Dr. Anthony said.

Since November 2021, local health authorities have been trying to secure these special vaccines to administer to children.

Dr. Anthony said the government has been promised the donation of another 60, 000 doses but it will activate that mechanism when these vaccines have been utilised.

Before the vaccine is administered, parental consent is required.

Parents present on Saturday used the occasion to encourage other parents to vaccinate their children.

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