Parents urged to get inoculated amid concerns about child vaccinations

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) has concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is suitable for use by people aged 12 years and above. It says children between ages 12 and 15 who are at high risk may be offered this vaccine, alongside other priority groups.
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Amid concerns about the proposed start of administering Covid-19 vaccinations to children, parents are being reminded that they can protect the younger ones, by getting inoculated themselves.

Since the government announced that the batch of Pfizer vaccines expected to arrive in Antigua will be utilized on children between the ages of 12 and 17, many have been voicing their disapproval on social media, pointing to the ‘fragile’ nature of that age group and the relative ‘newness’ of the vaccines.

However, Dr Courtney Lewis – Deputy Chairman of the National Technical Working Group on Covid-19 vaccinations – says parents can avoid that route by simply taking the vaccines.

He said it shouldn’t take children becoming sick from covid for parents to now start thinking about it.

“If you’re going to be going home to your family you want to make sure that your family is as protected as possible. So, the social distancing measures in public need to be maintained, there needs to be the mask wearing, the hand washing as applicable but the other thing that we can do to protect our children is that we need to go and be inoculated”, he stated.  

Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use in children, but other vaccine manufacturers are now executing clinical trials to try and get to that position.  

Dr Lewis says it is unclear at this point whether those vaccines could be approved before the batch of vaccine brands currently available on island begin to expire.

“It wouldn’t be as necessary if we had more actual adults vaccinated, the children will kind of be protected by default but because we have such a low vaccine uptake in the country then children may very well have to be the ones to come and secure the future of the country because the adults are kind of sleeping at the starting line”, the doctor says. The Pfizer vaccines expected ‘in a matter of weeks’ are part of a promised donation from the US government.

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