PM: If more students took covid19 vaccines, schools could reopen for all

File photo: PM Dr Keith Rowley - Photo by Sureash Cholai
File photo: PM Dr Keith Rowley - Photo by Sureash Cholai

The Prime Minister has said if more students had got covid19 vaccines, schools would have been reopened for all of them.

Dr Rowley was speaking at a press conference on Thursday.

“What I said initially is that if we can vaccinate the majority for our children, that level of protection would be there…for them to be able to go back to school,” he said.

“If we had gotten a high level (of vaccinations) in the school population, even if some of them were not vaccinated, it would not have been an issue, because 70-80 per cent would have been vaccinated.

"Unfortunately, instead of vaccinating 60-70,000 students, I can report to you today we have vaccinated 39,000 students.”

He said schools will reopen for those students in forms four-six on October 4.

“For those who are not fully vaccinated, they will not be able to participate on the school compound, but we will make alternative arrangements for them to participate in schooling virtually.”

Rowley said the batch of Pfizer vaccines designated for students and pregnant women was supposed to expire in November, but recent tests have shown the vaccine is still efficacious beyond three months and is now recommended for use for another few months.

“It means the vaccines will not be dumped in November.”

He said after fighting for the Pfizer vaccine to be used for students to return to school, the government received a donation of over 300,000 doses from the US out of an offering of 900,000.

“We were therefore in line to ask for and receive another 600,000 Pfizer vaccines. But look at my predicament. If the vaccines of the first tranche are not utilised, and wasted, do you really see success in going back to the Americans and saying, ‘We wasted the last tranche you’ve given us. Could you give us some more, please?’ like Oliver Twist?”

Rowley said some countries are reporting three-15 per cent vaccinations and Trinidad and Tobago is reporting 33 per cent fully vaccinated and 40 per cent at first dose.

“We are at that, and causing vaccines to expire.”

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