President Ali: If Guyana gets Pfizer, it will go to children
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President Dr. Irfaan Ali
President Dr. Irfaan Ali

PRESIDENT Dr. Irfaan Ali has promised to allocate all of the US COVID-19 vaccines to children, if the country receives Pfizer-BioNTech.
While speaking to the media on Friday after the sod-turning ceremony for the new Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Timehri, the Head of State said that he is optimistic that Guyana would benefit from vaccines from the US.  “I can’t say what is coming; I know that we are in discussion at CARICOM with the US. The US has committed to giving vaccines to the region,” President Ali said.
He said that although he is unsure about the amount, he is hopeful that it will “be substantial for Guyana”.
“What I can say is that once it is Pfizer, I can tell you this policy now; it will go to the children, starting from 18 and below,” he said.

US SUPPORT
In May, US President Joe Biden announced that he will share 80 million vaccines with the rest of the world.  Last month, he disclosed that of the first 25 million tranches of doses to be sent overseas, seven million of those will go to Latin America and the Caribbean.
The White House had stated that the initial 25 million doses will be shipped from existing federal stockpiles of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

EFFECTIVE
A research from a 2000-plus sample size in 2020 had shown that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 100 per cent effective in preventing the COVID-19 virus in children ages 12 through 15.
In late 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed emergency use of the vaccine from age 16.  This year, the vaccine was given to children in the US from ages 12 to 15.

CONCERNED
Meanwhile, President Ali told reporters that he is extremely concerned about the news of children being infected with severe cases of the virus.
“Every single person that goes into the hospital, to me, is alarming, especially children,” the President said.
He noted that although children are not as affected as adults, many still suffer, especially those with underlying issues.  He said that it will be a plus if the country receives the Pfizer vaccines to protect them all. “Let us say that we get Pfizer through the US opportunity, and we roll out Pfizer for those 18 and below, and we can capture the whole cohort population for secondary schools, that will be very good for us,” President Ali said.
According to the Ministry of Health, of the 20,000-plus COVID-19 cases in Guyana, almost 1600 have been children under 14. (Public Information and Press Services Unit)

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