The Prime Minister has dismissed those who consider only allowing vaccinated children into physical school to be a form of discrimination.
Speaking on Saturday at a press conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's, Dr Rowley said there were parents who preferred online schooling believing it was better or safer, and kept their children from physical school and then called it discrimination.
“You can’t speak about discrimination if you choose. There are two options available in TT. One option is that you come to school vaccinated, and the other is that you chose not to come and stay home to another offering if you think that is useful or better.
“And that would only apply during the pandemic. Nobody has said that this is how schooling is going to be from here on in.”
He said the government never lost focus of the school population, which was why it found a way for students to do the Secondary Entrance Assessment and CXC exams.
“Of course we know that there are difficulties. It is not the ideal situation, it is not the normal situation, it is not the perfect situation, it is not the sterile situation, but we have to get on with our lives. And that is called living with the virus. And as we do that, some things are not going to be in its normal place so we have too see what is the alternative place.”
He thanked all who were cooperating in getting Forms four, five and six students back to physical schools in the “attempt to get the children back to some semblance of offerings of a school environment.”
To those who had objections he said, “We hear you, but we don’t agree with you.”
He lamented that just over 40,000 of the 90,000 children ages 12–18 had been vaccinated, saying he had seen situations where children wanted to be vaccinated but parents discouraged them.
He reiterated, “If WHO (The World Health Organization) approves a vaccine for children (ages) five to 12, the government is considering getting that vaccine and once we get it, we are going to make that mandatory in TT, the same way we have made it mandatory for other vaccines for other ailments.”
Thoracic care medical specialist, Dr Michelle Trotman, added that multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in TT was predominant in those younger than 12 years old. She said it was possible the over 12 vaccination was having a positive impact.