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Health ministry prepares to roll out Pfizer vax for children under 12

Published:Monday | January 24, 2022 | 12:07 AM

PORT-OF-SPAIN (CMC):

The Ministry of Health says that it will consult with the relevant stakeholders before rolling out Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for five to 11-year-olds.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended extending the use of a reduced dosage of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages five to 11.

Speaking at the Ministry of Health’s virtual media briefing on Saturday, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh welcomed the latest development and provided details on the ministry’s roll-out plan.

“I just want to explain to the national community what process we are going to follow to roll it out. The chief medical officer will convene his technical advisory group on Monday to dissect and digest the updated interim guidelines which WHO put out on Friday. We will also be conferring with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Caribbean Public Health Agency to look at their technical guidelines and technical details.”

“So far, this morning and last night when this interim guidelines came out, I personally have been in contact at a national level with Dr Faith B. Yisrael (health secretary) to coordinate not only a national roll-out, but a national training and sensitisation programme for those who have to administer the vaccine. I have also alerted Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, minister of education, because this directly affects schoolchildren between the ages of five and 11.”

The health minister said all of these bodies will be invited to examine the interim guidelines and determine the way forward with recommendations for a national roll-out.

He added: “Once we have a position, we will come to the national population to discuss the national roll-out. That is where we are. It is some good news, but we do have some ‘I’s to dot and some ‘T’s to cross before we go full-speed ahead to vaccinate this cohort.”

To date, 11 children have died from COVID-19 in the twin-island republic.