A fifth of Tobago’s eligible student population has been vaccinated against covid19, says THA Secretary of Education, Innovation and Energy Marslyn Melville-Jack.
Melville-Jack told Newsday on Wednesday that the percentage vaccinated was “20 per cent of students in the 12-18 years age group as of August 30 – figures may have increased by now. As of Monday, we were at just over 1,200.”
She said the division is hoping to have at least 3,000 students vaccinated by the start of term on September 6.
She urged parents to have their children vaccinated.
“We appeal to all parents and stakeholders in education to get themselves and their children vaccinated as an added layer of protection against becoming seriously ill from the covid19 virus and adding a further strain on the already burdened health system.”
She pointed out: “Vaccination is nothing new to us and faith dictates that we believe the health professionals – we go to doctors, and we take their medications and their injections without even second-guessing, and this is going to add a second layer of protection to our students. I want to encourage all of us – get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
The administration of the Pfizer vaccine, she said continues at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort as well as the Scarborough and Roxborough Health Centre. The administration of second doses begins on September 9.
Last Monday, the Prime Minister announced that the government will not hold its hand if it is faced with a situation where insufficient students are vaccinated by mid-September. He said fully vaccinated secondary school students in forms four, five and six preparing for exams will be allowed to return to face-to-face classes from October 1. Unvaccinated students would continue participating in online classes.
However, Melville-Jack said there has been no directive on this.
“The Ministry of Education has announced that school will begin on Monday September 6 virtually for all students. We are guided by the Ministry of Education and the minister in particular and to date, this is the only advice coming from the Ministry of Education and I want all stakeholders to be aware of that.
“What happens thereafter would be guided by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, and the Minister of Education is one who believes in consultations.”
Contacted for comment National Parent-Teacher Association first vice-president (Tobago region) Joseph Lindo said that the NPTA was expected to meet on the issue later on Wednesday.