Guyana receives over 146,000 doses of Pfizer from US Govt

− available to every child 12 years and above
− over 4000 students already granted consent to take vaccine

By Rupa Seenaraine

The United States Government’s contribution of 146,250 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) on Tuesday which signals a turning point in Guyana’s vaccination campaign as children aged 12 and above are targeted.

Education Minister Priya Manickchand and Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony with Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Mark Cullinane receiving the vaccines

Receiving the tranche were Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Mark Cullinane; Education Minister Priya Manickchand; Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony and other officials.
In trials, the double-dose component has shown to be around 95 per cent effective, and is one of two vaccines approved for children by the Food and Drug Administration.
Speaking at a press conference after the vaccines arrived, the Education Minister stated that this will allow for the vaccination of children 12 years and above – a plan which Government has been concocting for some time. Once realised, schools can be reopened in a safe environment.
While just over 56,000 students are enrolled in secondary schools across Guyana, anyone in the age category is eligible for the vaccine. Some from the primary level, TVET, Cyril Potter College of Education and University of Guyana are included in the radar.
“We are very grateful to the United States Government and people for this donation. It is one that will help us to vaccinate all of our over 12 students, which would amount to 98 per cent of the secondary population in Guyana. If every parent and student were to consent to being vaccinated in that age cohort, we could resume secondary school with normalcy. That would allow us to take back much of what COVID has taken from us,” Manickchand noted.
She further stated, “It is a vaccine that will be administered by the Ministry of Health to any child between the ages of 12 and 18, regardless of whether they’re in school.”
However, the Minister reported that since the distribution of consent forms for parents or guardians to decide whether their child would take the shot, over 4000 have returned in the positive.
“We have a few thousand students, where we have already received written consent of their parents. We hope that we see this expanded across every community, every level that fits into that age cohort. We could say with sureness from the Ministry of Education that we have sent to every school and every parent, and we hope every parent has been able to access it, the forms that would allow them to consent.”
Once the rollout starts, health officials will visit the respective schools, and parents are to be present when their child takes the jab. The Minister assured that any questions pertaining to the vaccine can be clarified by officials.
“We will come with the Ministry of Health, village to village, school to school, to make sure that everyone who wishes to access and benefit from this vaccine, can. We will come again when it’s your second dose. By October, we should be able to start rolling out to schools across the country. We are not at the end of this. We are, as a Government, making ourselves and the professionals accessible and available to answer any questions that people might have on the vaccines or around COVID.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony used the platform to report that with the circulation of deadlier strains, children are getting infected and developing severe forms of the virus. For this, the vaccines have arrived at an opportune time.
“We have seen in Guyana, since this pandemic started, we’ve had more than 4000 children – male and female – under the age of 18, who were infected with the coronavirus. This represents a real threat to our children and while with the original variants, they might have had a mild form of the infection, with the Delta variant, you can have a very severe form of the infection,” Dr Anthony noted.
Whilst vaccination of children will not be mandatory, the Ministry is urging parents to consider the benefits that this vaccine will provide to their children and consent to the vaccine being administered to their children.
Parental consent forms for this vaccine have been delivered to schools and can be downloaded from the Ministry’s website at: Parents can also fill an e-form which can be submitted to indicate their consent. This can be accessed at: Also, if parents are unable to submit the physical copies, they can take a photograph of the completed form and submit it via WhatsApp to phone number: 652-9144.