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Parents should have open dialogue with children about vaccination – Deputy Chief Education Officer

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Ahead of the scheduled restart of the second term of the 2021-2022 school year, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education are working on whether that start date will be followed for face to face instruction come Monday, January 10.

In a press release shared on January 7, the Ministry of Education said that once a decision is made about schools opening, it would be communicated by senior officials in the ministry.

The safety of face to face instruction is in question because of the newest wave of infections.

The newest wave of COVID-19 infections, which saw 238 daily cases added on Thursday, January 6, bringing the active cases being monitored to 930 compared to the low turnout of 12 to 17-year-olds for the vaccine, which, according to the January 6 report, shows 16.8 percent of the target, 4800, receiving the first shot and 14.4 percent receiving the second.

Lisa Pistana, Deputy Chief Education Officer, shared her thoughts on why the turnout has been so low compared to the adult population.

“I think ultimately the Coronavirus smashed onto the scene like a superstar and has taken over everything. But people are still concerned about the vaccine itself; I think that’s the major concern that we’re hearing from parents. Then some parents say to us, well, you told us the adults to get vaccinated so that we can protect our children; why are you now asking me to vaccinate my child.”

Pistana feels that parents should give adolescents a choice in whether they wish to take the vaccine.

“It is the children who will have to say to their parents; this is what I want. I want to be vaccinated and what I would encourage our parents is to have that dialogue with their children because they themselves are on the front lines. They come into schools with us… they have to sit next to somebody every day, they have to interact with teachers, they have to interact with parents,” said Pistana during the January 5 broadcast of Working For You.

“And they have their own ideas because they can read, they’re intelligent, they converse with their peers, they converse with people who are a little bit older than them. And ultimately, I think they can say to their parents; this is the risk that I would like to take. This is for [me], it is for you, and it is what I would like to do.”

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