The Health Minster agreed with the proposal made by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) to stop the use of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID vaccine for the age group 18 to 30 and to use it for the 12 to 18 age group. The decision was made following a discussion GMOA held with the Health Minister.

A technical report was submitted to the Minister with the GMOA suggestions based on World Health Organisation (WHO), United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA USA) and the National Health Service of the United Kingdom (NHS UK) as well as the manufacturer’s recommendations claiming that why the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine should be preserved for the 12-18 age category.

GMOA pointed out to the minister that the Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine can be used for the age group of 18 to 30. Parallel to the 18 to 30 age group vaccination rollout, the limited number of Pfizer vaccine stocks can be used for the 12 to 18 age groups. By October, the country will receive the balance four million Pfizer vaccines and that the said age category could be fully vaccinated.
Therefore, the GMOA requested the Director General Health Services to appoint a special technical committee for above purpose and to study the scientific evidence and to get special approval to stop the use of the Pfizer vaccine for the age group of 18 to 30 and to use it for the 12 to 18 age group.

“We have well-trained staff in MOH level for Pediatric vaccination purposes. Islandwide Pediatric wards can be used for the children who should receive the vaccine under the observation for their safety. After vaccination, children will get their immunity. With the vaccination drive with other age groups, the number of COVID positive cases reported would be minimised and the schools would be open as soon as possible along with the opening of the country.

At least grade 7 and above could be opened. The vaccination for teachers and other school staff is about to finish with their second dose, so parents will get a confidence boost to send their children to school. No other vaccine is available for the use of the 12 to 18 age group and by full vaccination of the children, we can reduce child mortality and morbidity.

Further, Health Minister agreed with the proposal and mentioned that he would brief the Presidential Task Force Committee meeting which is scheduled to be held this Friday.