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Vanuatu launches Covid-19 vaccines for 12 to 17 year old age group

The Ministry of Health will launch the Covid-19 vaccination programme for children and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 at Central School in Port Vila today.

The Acting Director of Public Health, Dr. Jenny Stephen said, “While vaccination of adults has been ongoing for a year now, it is important that we now move to vaccinate the children and adolescent group”.

“Although children and adolescents may have fewer and milder symptoms of Covid-19, it can make them very sick sometimes requiring hospitalisation, and in rare situations complications can lead to death. There is no way to tell in advance how children will be affected by Covid-19, just like adults, children and adolescents can have both short- and long-term health problems; and spread Covid-19 to others, including at home and school”, Dr. Stephen added.

Children and adolescents will need the permission of parents or legal guardians to receive the vaccination.

They will also be required to produce an ID like a birth registration/certificate, passport or a national identification card.

The Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Health have been conducting awareness sessions about the vaccination.

“Covid-19 vaccine is not mandatory for adolescent group”,” said Dr. Stephen.

“It is up to the informed consent of the parents. Our teams continue to go out to communities to provide information to the public. It is important that parents and guardians ask questions so that they are well informed”

According to the Ministry of Health, clinical trials of the Moderna vaccine in adolescents aged 12–17 years showed that the vaccine was well tolerated and effective in the prevention of severe disease and death.

The Covid-19 vaccines will be available to all children between 12 and 17 years at schools, health facilities and outreach sessions.

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