Tracy: No concerns over vaxxed, unvaxxed students mingling

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Security officers check the temperature of students as they enter the Signal Hill Secondary School compound on Monday. Photo by David Reid

THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine claims she has not received any complaints from parents and others about vaccinated students mingling with their unvaccinated peers in schools in Tobago.

Following a directive from the Ministry of Education, last week, physical classes for both vaccinated and unvaccinated secondary school students in forms four, five and six began on Monday. Vaccinated and unvaccinated students in forms one to three are expected to resume face-to-face classes in January.

At the division’s virtual health briefing on Tuesday, Davidson-Celestine said, “I have not received any complaints. I have not received any concerns of vaccinated and unvaccinated students interacting in respective schools across the length and breadth of Tobago.”

She said the Division of Education, Innovation and Energy, headed by Marslyn Melville-Jack, has been working with schools to ensure all covid19 protocols are in place and all students, vaccinated or unvaccinated, adhere to the guidelines.

Davidson-Celestine said her division continues to encourage people to be vaccinated.

“As a matter of fact, vaccines are still available for those who would want to be vaccinated. So, at this time we encourage the parents to ensure that those children who are still unvaccinated be vaccinated so that we could prevent any significant challenges within the schools.”

She added the THA and Government have also been responding to the discussions in the public domain about discrimination against school students.

“So that call would have been heeded to and we have now progressed to opening up schools so that all can have the same physical and face-to-face teaching.”

Earlier, Davidson-Celestine said 62 per cent of the island’s population was partially vaccinated.

THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine. File photo/David Reid

“We are talking about a targeted population of 36,000 out of the 60,000 population that we have currently. Out of that population, we have since vaccinated 22,354 persons with the first dose of the vaccine and a further 57 per cent of the targeted population – that is 20,352 persons on this island (who) are fully vaccinated at this point.”

She said the 36,000 targeted population includes vaccinated students.

There are approximately 6,000 students eligible for the Pfizer covid19 vaccine.

“And so at this point in time we have about 51 per cent of the student population vaccinated – 51 per cent out of the 70 per cent, which is 2,160 out of the 4,200 targeted population, and we have 1,514 of the school-aged students who are now fully vaccinated. That represents 36 per cent of the targeted population that we are working with.”