On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health and Wellness will begin the process of vaccinating children 12 years and older with the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
On Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FAO) granted full approval to the vaccine for people age 16 and older. Pfizer was authorized for emergency use in the United States since mid-December for people age 16 and older and in May, the authorization was extended to those 12 and older.
Antigua and Barbuda currently has 17,550 doses of the shot which will be administered at the Villa polyclinic through appointments.
Health Minister Molywn Joseph explains that the process is important and is critical to the reopening of schools in September.
“We cannot afford for our schools to be open and they [students] become super-spreaders. We have some hard decisions to make here in Antigua and Barbuda”, he told Observer.
Minister Joseph says the country’s health care sector does not have the capacity to provide care in multiple emergency cases.
“If we don’t get serious, one of the victims will be our children and it would be a shame that we as adults, who make these decisions, act in an irresponsible way and cause death to our children and even our babies”, he remarked.
The rollout out of the vaccination programme for children will be supported by a public awareness campaign which will be held in small groups across the island.
The Minister said consultation will be done in a more robust way this week with parents and guardians who have to consult with teachers.
This type of consultation, he said, would occur in small community groups with the support of doctors and health workers.
Over the weekend a leading medical official suggested that authorities delay the reopening of schools to facilitate the inoculation of children.