Pregnant women, teens 16-17 eligible for COVID-19 vaccine | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–Pregnant women and teenagers sixteen to seventeen years old are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

  This decision was made by the Vaccine Management Team (VMT) on Monday, based on the most recent guidelines for pregnant women and teenagers 16-17 years old with specific underlying health conditions proven by a letter from their paediatrician/general practitioner (GP), or who can prove that vaccination is a requirement to enter tertiary education in the study year 2021-2022.

  This was announced in a press release on Thursday.

  According to the release, the Pfizer vaccine was approved for persons 16 years and older before the vaccination roll-out started on St. Maarten. However, priority was given to the elderly as they have the highest risk of severe health complications when infected with COVID-19.

  The Health Council of the Netherlands, an independent scientific institute that advises the Dutch government on health issues, has recently released advice to offer the Pfizer vaccine to children ages 16 and 17, who have certain serious underlying conditions. These conditions are blood cancer diagnosed within the last five years; severe kidney failure or being on dialysis; severe primary immune deficiency disease; Down syndrome; neurological disorders that result in difficulty breathing; morbid obesity, meaning a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40; or having undergone an organ or bone marrow transplant (or being on the waiting list for such).

  Recent research has shown that the Pfizer vaccine is also safe for women who are pregnant. As of now, anyone who is pregnant can be vaccinated at any of the vaccination locations.

  In the United States, the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children 12 to 15 years old was recently approved. VMT will await official advice from the Dutch Health Council before further reductions will be made in the age of eligibility for vaccination.

  The VMT encourages everyone to register for the vaccine or walk-in at the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) office in Philipsburg, the Belair Community Center, or one of the pop-up vaccination locations in one’s neighbourhood.

  St. Maarten currently has the best vaccine on the market available for free. All over the world, 1.3 billion persons have already taken it. It is scientifically proven that it is safe and protects against the COVID-19 virus, including the United Kingdom (UK) variant, which is now dominant on St. Maarten.

  “Only if enough persons get vaccinated can St. Maarten have herd immunity, end the pandemic and race back to normalcy. Protect yourself, your loved ones and St. Maarten, and get vaccinated,” says the VMT.

Source: The Daily Herald