Get your children vaccinated, Custos Pitkin urges
BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer West writerThursday, August 26, 2021
BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON
MONTEGO BAY, St James — With our children being at risk of missing out on yet another year of face-to-face classes due to the island's COVID-19 positivity rate, custos of St James Bishop Conrad Pitkin has joined the call for children aged 12 and over to be inoculated against the highly contagious virus.
“Jamaica is going through a very difficult time, our children have been out of school for almost two years and what we are looking at now, the rapid increase of the infection across the country, it would seem as if the only way that we are going to be able to get our children to return to school is to have them being vaccinated,” Custos Pitkin told the Jamaica Observer West on Tuesday.
Pointing out that he is not a medical doctor or scientist, the custos shared that based on his understanding, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, that is being administered to children between the ages of 12 and 18, has gone through numerous testing and research, thus making it safe for our children.
He added that based on his understanding, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also given its approval for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children.
“I know that children between the ages of 12 and 18 are getting vaccinated and the vaccine that is being used is the Pfizer BioNTech. I just want to make it clear that I am not a medical doctor or a scientist, but from what I understand is that in December 2020, the Pfizer vaccine was authorised for emergency use after the testing was done,” he told Observer West.
“And later, a few months ago, we were advised that further research that children aged 12 and over could take the vaccine, and my further understanding is that since Monday, the FDA has granted full approval for the Pfizer BioNTech for people 12 years and above.”
Noting that “our children's education is paramount to the development of our nation”, the custos is also encouraging parents who may be on the fence about the COVID-19 vaccine, to contact their trusted medical doctors “and seek for proper consultation.”
“I want to encourage parents to think carefully, our children's education is paramount to the development of our nation so parents should seek their doctor's advice and seek proper consultation. And allow not only for the children, but I think parents should continue to think of the importance of being vaccinated also,” said Pitkin, who is also a senior pastor.
He added that he believes the vaccination is “very important in order to get our children back to school.”
While sharing that he has been “fully vaccinated for several months now”, the custos noted that he understands that the vaccine does not prevent individuals from catching the virus, but “it can prevent hospitalisation and untimely death.”
“If enough of our people are vaccinated, then we can [slow down] the spreading of the virus,” he stressed.
“I am fully vaccinated. I would not be promoting something that I don't believe in. I have been fully vaccinated for several months now,” the custos reiterated.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness reported that the island recorded 367 new COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths on Tuesday, bringing the infection total to 63,831 and virus death toll to 1,431.
The ministry also reported that 21,000 Jamaicans were vaccinated on Tuesday, as it continued its four-day vaccination blitz across the island.
This represents a record for the highest number of people vaccinated in one day since the COVID-19 programme began in March.
According to the ministry, roughly 40 per cent of those vaccinated on Tuesday were children between 12 and 18 years old and the remainder were people over 18 years.