A Tobago student has been warded at the Scarborough General Hospital after an adverse reaction to the Pfizer covid19 vaccine.
Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine told Newsday in a WhatsApp message on Monday. "The student is in no danger and has had the best care and attention." She said tests are being done to ascertain the cause of the initial concern.
Davidson-Celestine confirmed the news of the student's adverse reaction during a CCN TV6 Morning Edition interview on Monday.
She said, "Yes, I am aware of that particular situation. That student is being managed by the medical practitioners at the Scarborough General Hospital, because the parents would have reached out to me to indicate the specific challenge."
Newsday asked how soon after receiving the vaccine the student had an adverse reaction, what types of symptoms did the student display and how soon he or she was hospitalised, but Davidson-Celestine declined to answer, citing patient confidentiality.
The Pfizer vaccine is the only World Health Organization-approved covid19 vaccine for children 12-18 years old.
As of September 17, Tobago had 1,848 partially vaccinated students and 937 were fully vaccinated.
The Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development had earlier said 6,000 students would be targeted. Tobago began its vaccination rollout for that age group on August 19.
The assemblyman said on Morning Edition, generally, the vaccine drive has had few concerns.
"We have not seen any significant reactions to the vaccines in Tobago. There might be one or two cases in terms of the exception, but those persons are being managed by the medical practitioners at the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA).
"So again, I always use the opportunity to encourage those who are not vaccinated to come forward."
Davidson-Celestine said her division and the TRHA are managing the covid19 threat by focusing on administering as many doses of vaccines as possible.
Currently, the country has four brands available – Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Johnson & Johnson.
"The solution is to ensure that as many persons (as possible) are vaccinated.
"At this point we are about 56 per cent of the targeted population – the targeted population being 70 per cent of the entire population. So we just have 44 per cent more persons to be vaccinated, which would be equivalent to about 16,000 people or so."
Tobago has a population of about 60,000, with around 51,000 eligible for the vaccine. As of Monday, there have been 83 covid19-related deaths on the island and 412 active covid19 cases. The division said 20,164 people in Tobago are partially vaccinated and 16,513 fully vaccinated.
Davidson-Celestine said, "It has been an uphill battle. It has been relatively slow. But from the perspective of the division, we will continue educating our people and more so, we have the community effort that will see us knocking on the doors, getting the messages across and getting as many people as possible vaccinated."