Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram.

Over 18,000 people between the ages of 12 to 18 have been administered the Pfizer vaccine since its rollout on August 18, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said yesterday.

Speaking during the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 update, Parasram said up to Tuesday, a total of 18,623 people had been vaccinated with the Pfizer jabs.

“We are at 18,623 children vaccinated and we just began the programme on Wednesday last week, which gives a daily average of just about 2,660 children per day, which is a very good average,” Parasram said.

Thanking parents and children who continue to come out to be vaccinated, he added, “We hope to get to our target in the shortest possible space of time.”

Director of the Mental Health Unit Dr Hazel Othello urged parents not to force frightened children to take the vaccine, but instead spend time talking and listening to their fears and concerns before trying to impart reliable and evidence-based information to them on why vaccines are beneficial.

Head of Pediatric Department at the San Fernando General Hospital, Dr Jose Nunez, assured, “Vaccines are safe and effective, even against the Delta variant.”

Nunez warned that when there is an outbreak is not the time to start rushing for vaccines if, noting it could strain human and infrastructural resources. He urged parents to speak with their children’s doctors prior to vaccination, especially if they are prone to allergies.

The ministry also started the rollout of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccines yesterday in rural communities, in the prison system and among frontline healthcare workers who have not yet been vaccinated. The J&J vaccines are the first tranche of injections to arrive in T&T via the African Medical Council.

Parasram reiterated that vaccination currently remains a voluntary process in T&T.

Also revealing an upsurge in new cases in Tobago within the last month, officials said they are also continuing to keep a close eye on the counties of Victoria, Caroni and St George East.

The CMO also said up to yesterday, there remained only be three confirmed cases of the Delta variant in T&T. The variant was confirmed in three returning nationals.