BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 13, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – St. Kitts and Nevis is now in possession of 11,700 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine – a World Health Organization-approved vaccine that can be safely administered to persons from as old as 12 years of age.
According to the WHO, a Phase 3 trial of the Pfizer vaccine in children aged 12-15 years showed high efficacy and good safety in this age group, leading to an extension of the previous age indication from 16 years onwards down to age 12 onwards.
Prior to the arrival of the Pfizer vaccines, only persons 18 years and older were being inoculated using the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in St. Kitts and Nevis.
During a ceremony at the RLB International Airport on Thursday, August 12, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said the addition of the Pfizer vaccines means that the nation’s children can now have their own protection rather than relying on vaccinated adults for their protection.
“In our country, 13,021 persons are under the age of 18. Four thousand, eight hundred and ten persons or 10.2 percent of our population are between the ages of 12-17. In other words, we now have a new pool of 4,800 persons who can be vaccinated and add to the general protection, health and safety of St. Kitts and Nevis,” Prime Minister Harris said.
The prime minister noted further that the vaccination of persons between this critical threshold means that secondary school students would be put in a safer position when schools reopen in September.
“The disruption earlier this year of all our schools, including our secondary schools, because of COVID-19 is now less likely to reoccur and our children can enjoy in-classroom learning. Their tomorrow will be much brighter than their yesterday and their today because we now have the Pfizer vaccine,” Dr. Harris said.
Prime Minister Harris indicated that while the virtual learning experience became a necessity during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, research and results out of the United States and the United Kingdom have shown that “the virtual experience is no substitute for in-classroom learning.”
Dr. Harris continued, “Inside the classroom is the very helpful interaction amongst students, their peers and their teachers which add to learning. Those intangibles cannot be replicated virtually, and so we are very happy that we could now strengthen the access of our students into live classroom settings. The Pfizer vaccine, which will be available to our secondary school students, would certainly help to make that happen.”
The 11,700 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were donated by the Government of the United States of America. St. Kitts and Nevis is expected to receive a total of 35,100 doses of the vaccine from the USA in three tranches.