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May 26, 2022

Pediatric Vaccination Rollout Commences on May 30th

As of May twenty-third, 2022, over two hundred and sixteen thousand, or just over fifty percent of the total population, have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. Forty-nine percent of the country’s population has received two doses, while only eleven point nine percent of the population has received a booster shot. Those figures include forty-five point six-eight percent of children population ages twelve to seventeen who have been fully vaccinated.  The Ministry of Health and Wellness is on a mission to increase those numbers by vaccinated children five to eleven and today, it announced that it will start the rollout of the pediatric vaccination this coming Monday, May thirtieth. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

First it was the elderly population and frontline workers, then those in the tourism sector and the adult population of the country. Then in 2021, we also saw the rollout of vaccines to children twelve years and older. Today, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, at a media sensitization session, confirmed that they have secured pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for children, ages five to eleven. The Pfizer pediatric vaccines are being donated by the Government of Slovakia.


Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer

Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer, Maternal & Child Health Technical Advisor, M.O.H.W.

“We are privileged to be recipient of a donation from the government of Slovakia and we are receiving one hundred and twenty-four thousand eight hundred doses of Pfizer pediatric formulation and the cost of each dose is twenty point eighty-seven U.S. dollars.”


This batch of pediatric vaccines will allow for the immunization of up to eighty-five percent of children in this age range with two doses each. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has been working with the Ministry of Education to inform parents of the rollout which is set to commence in schools across the country on May thirtieth. At a media sensitization session this morning, Dr. Natalia Beer of the Ministry of Health and Wellness and Pediatrician Doctor Cecilio Eck shared details.


Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer

“The target population, based on the data that we gathered from the Statistical institute of Belize, children five to eleven in Belize is a total of seventy-three thousand one hundred and nineteen. We were informed by our team that is at the Philip Goldson International Airport that there has been a delay and the vaccines will arrive on Saturday.”


Dr. Cecilio Eck, Pediatrician

“It is a boon that we’ve gotten it. We are again ahead of most of the countries in the world to get enough vaccines to even give our kids one dose and to start on the second dose. So our hope is that most of the kids, we aim for ninety-five percent coverage, will get at least one dose prior to going for holidays and hopefully, most of them will get two doses.”


Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer

“Since we received the confirmation of the donation, then we started to work with the district education centers and the Ministry of health and wellness local teams in the districts. Reaching out to the principals, to the teachers, to the parents because every parent should receive information, afford them the opportunity to ask their questions before signing the consent form, which is a requirement. So we haven’t heard or received any negative response from the education sector.”


The recommendation for this age group is two doses twenty-one days apart. A booster shot is recommended for children who are immune-compromised.  But, similarly to the vaccination rollout for children twelve and older, it is expected that the reaction from parents will be a mixed bag on whether or not they want their children to be vaccinated. Doctors Beer and Eck share the benefits of inoculation.


Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer

“COVID is not a disease to play with. It has long time consequences. We are still learning about the virus and it is not a cough and cold that we thought at the beginning of the pandemic. It is now a systemic disease. So why expose someone to get COVID when we have a vaccine to protect them from the infection and if they do get infected, then it will protect them from severe illness and the need for hospitalization.”


Dr. Cecilio Eck

“Our track record on giving vaccines to our kids is impeccable. Now what’s happening is we get a new vaccine, it has been used throughout the world to prevent COVID. We do know that even though the risk of severe illness to children is very low, it still does exist. And if we give the vaccine to our children, we decrease the risk of them getting ill and getting the need to be hospitalized. And thirdly, approaching that golden figure of herd immunity.”


The vaccine will arrive in country on Saturday and rollout will begin on Monday, May thirtieth at schools and public health facilities and vaccination sites countrywide.

Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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