Saint Lucia: Ministry of Health introduces pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
Saint Lucia: Ministry of Health introduces pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Saint Lucia: COVID-19 remains a public health concern as Saint Lucia continues to record a significant number of new cases. Variants and sub-variants continue to affect all population groups globally.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs remain committed to ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines are available and accessible to all eligible populations.

Over the last two weeks, the nation received 7800 doses of Pediatric Pfizer – 3000 doses from the Spain government as a generous donation; and an additional 4800 doses through the COVAX facility. The Government of Saint Lucia is ever-grateful to its partners for their generous donations of life-saving vaccines. The younger population, between 5 and 11 years, can now get the much-needed protection against COVID-19 and its complications. These donated vaccines will complement the existing COVID-19 vaccines available to the people of Saint Lucia.

Young children can manifest severe lung infections, become very sick and require hospitalization if they become infected with the COVID-19 virus. Children can also transmit COVID-19 to others if they’re infected, even without having any symptoms. It is important to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect the child.

The Ministry of Health highlighted, “Remember, the current vaccines are still effective in preventing severe illness from current variants of the virus.”

Side effects are similar to the side effects experienced in other age groups. The child may experience pain at the injection site (upper arm) and could feel more tired than usual. Fever, irritability, or drowsiness are also seen in some of the children. These side effects of the vaccine are usually cleared up within 48 hours. Antipyretics or analgesics are effective in the relief of those symptoms.

“We are all looking forward to that complete state of normalcy. Getting vaccinated is beneficial and cost-effective and reduces severe illness and hospitalizations. For our children – it means keeping them in school with fewer disruptions and participating in the activities they enjoy. Most important is the protection the vaccine offers. Children exposed to the virus who are vaccinated are less likely to get infected,” the ministry highlighted.

As of Monday, August 15, 2022, the Pediatric Pfizer will be available at all Wellness Centres for children (5 to 11 years). Parents or guardians are encouraged to visit or make an appointment at the Wellness Centres to have their children vaccinated.

Vaccination continues at various Community Wellness Centres around the island. COVID-19 vaccines currently available are AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech (Adult & Pediatric) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). The Ministry of Health, Wellness & Elderly Affairs encourages persons, especially the vulnerable amongst us, to get vaccinated. COVID-19 still infects people; can cause severe disease, hospitalization and death.