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Posted: Tuesday 17 August, 2021 at 9:40 AM

Health Minister confirms no mandatory vaccine for children

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - WITH the arrival of the Pfizer Vaccine from the United States now paving the way for children 12 years and above to be vaccinated against the Coronavirus, Health Minister Akilah Byron-Nisbett has announced that there would be no mandate for them to be inoculated.


    Speaking on the sidelines of the arrival of the vaccines, the Minister explained that the Government is not in a position currently to say whether it would be made mandatory for the children to be inoculated, but the Ministry of Health would work in conjunction with the Ministry of Education to continue with public awareness.


    “We are not in a position right now to suggest whether or not we would make it mandatory. We continue in the same vein, where we give you the information to allow you to make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to be vaccinated,” the Minister noted.


    All of this comes at a time when there is still a level of vaccine hesitancy in St. Kitts and Nevis despite there being 60 percent inoculation rate on the islands, while there are growing concerns across the region where governments are making it mandatory for residents or public service personnel to take the jab. 


    Asked by SKNVibes when is the Government looking to begin inoculating children, Minister Byron-Nisbett could not give a specific timeframe as the Government will shortly begin to rollout its education campaign on the Pfizer doses. 


    “...all of the SOPs are being put in place and we are preparing to have a meeting with the Ministry of Education to make sure that when we rollout the Pfizer/BioNTech  Vaccines we do so effectively and in a safe manner,” the Minister retorted.


    Data show that there are approximately 4,100 children between the ages of 12-18 who are now eligible for the two-dose vaccine plan. The company said that its vaccine is 100 percent effective for children between 12-15 years.


    It is not limited to only children, as the Government noted that adults would also be provided with the jab as the Federation is pushing to inoculate as many of the population as possible.


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