A group of students poses for a photograph with Ministers of Health and Education Anthony and Manickchand respectively moments after the Pfizer vaccination for children arrived in Guyana Tuesday afternoon.
Face-to-face contact between students and teachers is expected to recommence on September 06, 2021, after more than a one-year lull due to the novel coronavirus pandemic which the entire world is grappling with.
The Government of Guyana through the Ministries of Education and Health has been pushing for the vaccination of children, particularly those between the ages of 12 and 18 ahead of the reopening of schools in Guyana.
Today Tuesday, Guyana received a donation of close to one hundred and fort seven thousand doses of the Pfizer vaccine which has been tested and approved by the FDA to be used by children 12 to 18 years old.
BIG Smith News Watch asked Education Minister Priya Manickchand what will happen to those children who are unvaccinated when the day comes for the reopening of schools.
“They stand the risk of getting sick, the government is not making vaccination for children a pre-condition for entering schools. We are however encouraging strongly, parents to give that consent. We don’t think school doors should ever be closed to anyone who wants to learn. We are not in a perfect state right now but we have not said and we are not prepared at this stage to say, unvaccinated children if they want to access education, would be disallowed” Education Minister Manickchand stressed.
As of 15:00hrs on Tuesday, the Ministry of Education had on record, just over 4000 parental consent for children to take Pfizer vaccine. The Education Minister expressed hope that the consent numbers will rise within the next few hours now that the vaccines have actually arrived.
In the Second Schools, there are just over 56,000 students. She however stressed that the vaccines are not just for children who have to attend school but every child 12-18 in Guyana could get the vaccine was the consent is given. She made reference to children with the identified age range who are attending the University of Guyana, Cyril Potter College of Education and those within the Technical Vocational Training Centres.
Today the vaccine arrived on a FedEx Cargo Plane from the United States and was the first cargo to be offloaded under the watchful eyes of the Ministers of Health and Education, the Deputy of the United States Embassy in Guyana and senior Ministry of Education personnel along with students from several city schools.
The vaccination of children is expected to be rolled out within the coming days.
Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony explained that the Ministry has been training its staff in the administration of this particular vaccine which requires a special type of syringe. He assured that the prepping and training for the administration of the vaccine as well as its proper storage were being done months in advance.