On Monday, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand along with the Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson, and the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Coordinator, Nadia Hollingsworth met with the Chairpersons of the various PTA bodies of secondary schools regarding the Pfizer Vaccine.
The aim of the virtual meeting via Zoom was to brief the leadership of the PTAs on the matter of vaccinating adolescents from the ages of 12 to 17 against COVID-19 and to garner the support of the PTA to facilitate the smooth flow of the process at the various stages, whether it is to share information from the Ministry to parents or to assist with the distribution of the consent forms to parents.
The meeting targeted the PTAs primarily from the secondary level since the age group eligible for the vaccine can be found in these schools. However, in cases where there are 12-year-old pupils in Primary Schools, systems will be put in place to have them vaccinated once consent is given by their parents.
The PTA heads were informed that consent forms to be signed by parents have already been picked up by the Regional Education Officers for each Education District and will be made available to schools within the next 24 hours.
These forms are to be completed, signed, and returned to the respective schools. The PTA representatives were also told that completed forms can also be submitted via Whatsapp whereby a parent can take a photograph of the physical form and send the photographs to 652 – 9144. Also, if parents are unable to visit the school, forms can be downloaded from the Ministry of Education’s website at: https://education.gov.gy/covid-vaccine.
Additionally, parents can complete and submit an e-form by visiting the following link: https://forms.office.com/r/jGKHNM5mzk. When the forms are submitted, the Ministry of Education will have a list of students whose parents have agreed for them to be vaccinated. The next step will be to schedule the vaccination day for schools and students. This will be done following the arrival of the vaccines.
The Minister of Education reminded the PTA members that the Government of Guyana is expecting to receive a quantity of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine which has been approved in the United States of America to be used by children from ages 12 to 17.
Minister Manickchand told the representatives that their role in the school system is of strategic value to the vaccination programme for adolescents and explained the importance of the process as it relates to the reopening of schools.