Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 24, 2021 (SKNIS): Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph Nathaniel France (JNF) General Hospital, said that vaccination is key for school children to safely return to in-person learning, which is a traditional experience in an actual classroom setting.
“We have an opportunity to keep our high schools open and to go back to regular in-class (in-person) learning because although the alternative is to go to virtual learning, it doesn’t work for everyone,” said Dr. Wilkinson, while responding to a question at the National Emergency Operations Centre COVID-19 Briefing for September 22. “Our opportunity is to make sure that our high school kids get vaccinated. We have a vaccine now for our 12-17 year-olds, which means that every high school kid can be vaccinated and if we get significant vaccination coverage in our high schools we would not have to be sending home the entire class when someone is exposed,” he added.
Dr. Wilkinson touched on a recent situation where Pfizer sought Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for vaccines in children 5 to 11 years old.
“We need to make sure that we stay ahead of the curve. We have the opportunity to vaccinate every adult over the age of 18; we have the opportunity to vaccinate every teenager 12 and over and very soon we will have the opportunity to vaccinate younger children so that we can rid ourselves or be able to live comfortably with COVID-19 knowing that it will not be a death sentence or sentence to severe disease,” said the Medical Chief of Staff.
As of Thursday, September 23, 21, 938persons or 66.4 percent of the target population are fully vaccinated, while 75.4percent would have been administered with just one dose. Additionally. 6.6 percent of children within the age range of 12-17 years have already received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.