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Minister Valentin shows support for adolescent vaccination drive |14 September 2021

Minister Valentin shows support for adolescent vaccination drive

Students getting their jab (Photos: Thomas Meriton)

Minister for Education Justin Valentin yesterday visited three secondary schools located on Mahé to offer his support for the vaccination drive of adolescents against Covid-19.

The continuation of the national immunisation campaign which aims to cover the estimated 6500 adolescents aged between 12 to 17, officially kicked off yesterday starting with S5 students across all secondary schools, except for those from Belonie secondary, as announced by the Ministry of Education last week.

Minister Valentin was accompanied on his visits to the different schools by the principal secretary for education services Dr Odile de Comarmond and other officials from the ministry.

During the visits, he interacted with the students themselves, numerous parents who turned up to accompany their children, and those working to make the campaign a success.

After visiting the Mont Fleuri school, Minister Valentin said he was satisfied with how the vaccination process was flowing at the institution and the manner in which everything was going as planned.

“This is the first school I am visiting today and I have observed that the students are really calm, the atmosphere is really peaceful and things are flowing really well. At the Mont Fleuri school I heard there is supposed to be around 50 students and already in around 30 minutes, some 20 students have been vaccinated, which goes to show that the process is flowing well and fast,” Minister Valentin affirmed.

“What is really interesting is that many parents have accompanied their children and this is very encouraging. Some of them are choosing to take their children home while others are staying at school. The ministry has been sure to provide staff to ensure that all goes well. With regard to administering the vaccines, of course this is being handled by the Ministry of Health, but the Ministry of Education is handling the logistics,” Minister Valentin stated.

As announced by the Ministry of Education, over 50% of the adolescent population are expected to receive the first Pfizer dose during this week’s ongoing Covid-19 vaccination campaign.

In preparations for the newest phase of the national immunisation campaign, the Ministry of Health engaged in intense discussions and is still working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

The head teacher of Mont Fleuri secondary school, Marc Arissol, noted that preparations at the school started over two weeks ago, with raising the awareness of the students on the vaccine and disseminating information to parents.

“The Ministry of Health provided enough information in Creole, French and English and I would say that the information is clear. We did not force anyone but rather encouraged the students to make a decision based on the information they have been provided with to make an informed decision. Many have been doing their own research and some of those who are more concerned have called me, but nearly half of our S5 cohort have consented to take the vaccine,” Mr Arissol noted.

He further pointed out that the S5 cohort at the school is at 118, following numerous dropouts over last year. Despite having signed the consent forms, some parents have since been discouraged from consenting to their children receiving the jab and have either opted to have their consent forms withdrawn or asked to be granted more time to decide.

To ensure the process flows smoothly, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and other support personnel such as teachers, continue to ensure the normal lessons for students of S1 to S4.

Among the parents who accompanied their child through the process were Micael Fred and Theresette Delcy.

Micael Fred said he chose to accompany his daughter after discussion with his family, he opted to consent to his daughter having the jab as a means of protection for her and vulnerable members of the family.

As for Theresette Delcy, the decision was a hard one and one which she made at the very last minute and after much research.

“It was not an easy decision or something that we decided immediately. We received the leaflets and conducted our research. Since there are four of us living together at home and we are all vaccinated, we thought she may be vulnerable with being at school and involved in different activities. When we researched the Pfizer vaccine, even she was unsure about whether or not to take it at first. We took a little while to fill out the form, but we did so on the final day. At the same time, we discussed with her whether or not she wants to take it. So, she had her first dose today, but she will soon be sitting her IGCSEs towards the end of September, but I think we can be flexible with the second dose, until she completes her exams,” Mrs Delcy shared.

“It is important for me to accompany her and give her support. If I was not able to make it, another family member would have accompanied her. All in all, the process was smooth, we did not take too long and all the personnel there made us both feel at ease,” Mrs Delcy added.


Laura Pillay

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