First doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered

The Ministry of Education has been working hard to come up with various means to help learning bounce back in the new normal period and vaccination is another important layer of the solution, Minister for Education Dr Justin Valentin has said.

He was speaking during a special ceremony to officially include the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the national immunisation campaign, which also includes the Sinopharm, Covishield and Sputnik V vaccines.

The new vaccine will be administered to children aged 12 to 17 years old.

During the ceremony held at the Mont Fleuri community centre yesterday and attended by Minister for Health Peggy Vidot, over 40 students from the National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS) – the future health workers – received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech following consent of their parents.

The new stock of the Pfizer vaccine – 35,100 doses –which is a donation from the United States under the COVAX programme – arrived in the country on Wednesday.

Minister Valentin noted that the educational system had been under massive stress due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and that only one positive case in a single classroom is enough to upset the whole educational community.

He thanked all those involved in wisely managing the educational system so far, thus preventing a national catastrophe.

Minister Valentin also advised the parents who are still hesitant to take a decision regarding their consent, that through research and guidance from the health authority, the Ministry of Education is confident that taking the vaccine would be the best choice and option for their children.

He added that it has been proven internationally that vaccines have helped to solve many problems and in the local context, they are optimistic that it will be a major part of the solution for the education sector to bounce back.

Minister Valentin however noted that even if vaccines are being administered, it is also important to maintain a certain discipline, especially in observing the various health protocols in place.

He also advised parents who are not sure on what decision to take, to seek advice from professionals who will guide them in taking the best decision.

On her part, Minister Vidot described the event as another milestone in the country’s response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

She said prior to the introduction of the Pfizer vaccine, the protection of the younger segment of our population depended solely on the public health measures that we know of.

Other than through bilateral relations with different countries, as well as the COVAX programme, Minister Vidot said the immunisation programme has also been possible through high level political commitment and support from President Wavel Ramkalawan to try and access the vaccines, bringing huge support to the Covid-19 response.

She also encouraged all parents to allow their children in this age group to take the vaccine as a form of defence against Covid-19, since the Pfizer vaccine will protect and help them re-adjust to their studies.

NIHSS’ students François Vidot and Eliza Jean were the first two to be administered with the Pfizer vaccine.

Vaccination programme for secondary school students will begin on Monday September 13, at 10 stations at the schools, including Praslin and La Digue and they are planning to complete administtation of the first doses in one week.

The National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group recommended the use of the Pfizer vaccine in Seychelles on July 27, 2021 and the Official Gazette published the statutory instrument for emergency use authorisation on August 9.

To date, 72 percent of the population are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Source: Seychelles Nation