Health Minister urges Amerindian leaders to encourage COVID-19 vaccination

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Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony is urging indigenous community leaders to encourage persons to take their COVID-19 jabs.

During his daily COVID-19 update, Dr Anthony said the ongoing National Toshoas Council (NTC) Conference allowed for better engagements between the ministry and the leaders of the country’s indigenous peoples. He is now urging Toshaos and religious leaders in communities to advocate for persons to take their jabs.

“I’m extremely hopeful that they would take this important message back to their communities and work very closely with the ministry’s staff in the various regions so that we can increase vaccination,” Dr Anthony said.

He assured that the ministry will be available to send teams into regions to administer these vaccines. There has been hesitancy from the hinterland communities with Regions Seven and Eight having lower vaccine rollout as compared to other regions, the minister explained. He added that it has to be a collaborative effort between the communities and the ministry to see higher uptake in the villages.

“In some areas there are religious persons who are dissuading people from getting vaccinated and that’s very irresponsible,” he said.

The minister noted that not every religious leader is dissuading persons but he said that the ones who are, are jeopardizing the health and wellness of others.

“Instead of dissuading people they [community leaders] should really become more acquainted with what the science is saying and use their influence for a good purpose and that is to encourage people to be vaccinated,” he said.

“If the toshaos work with us more closely we will be able to change the dynamics in some of these regions.”

Meanwhile, a total of 149 children took their second dose Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines since the second doses roll out commenced this week.

The 149 total is approximately 0.1 per cent of the pediatric cohort. 4,565 children received their first doses, this is 4.5 per cent.

To date adult vaccination stands at first dose administered 444,280, 86.6 per cent; second doses 344,039, 67.1 per cent; adolescent vaccinations: first dose 351,073, 44.2 per cent; second dose 25,732, 35.3 per cent; booster 69,739.

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