Jamaica to Require COVID-19 Vaccine for High School Students to Attend In-Person Classes

Jamaica students
Students at the Kemps Hill High, Clarendon via Junior Education Minister, Robert Morgan/Twitter

High school students in Jamaica will have to take the Pfizer vaccine if they want to attend face-to-face classes this school term.

September 1 remains the official date for the reopening of schools for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students, however, face-to-face classes will begin in October.

The Ministry of Education confirmed that students 12 years and older will have to be vaccinated before being allowed to attend school when in-person classes.

This week, Jamaica received over 200,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for children over 12 years. The Jamaican government said it is prioritizing children to get this particular brand of vaccine.

Fayval Williams, the minister of education, says that over 60 percent of Jamaica’s public educators are already vaccinated, highlighting an eagerness to get back into the classroom.

“Children 12 and over must be vaccinated in order to return to face-to-face classes,” Williams said during a virtual press briefing hosted by her ministry and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

“Parents it is your time to recognize the urgency of the time and take your children to be vaccinated. We are counting on everyone. Our teachers have taken the first step. A significant number of them have taken at least one dose and will be going back for the second. Now is the time, in terms of your child, to become vaccinated, as well as yourself,” Williams said.

As the island prepares for the start of the new school year, Minister Williams said the ministry conducted a survey to assess how many Jamaican parents would consent to having their eligible children vaccinated against the virus.

She said some 59 percent of the parents said they would allow their children to take the vaccine.

Minister Williams says the survey results suggest that the ministry will be off to a good start when schools reopen in a matter of weeks. The vaccination of children over 12 years old will begin in Jamaica this weekend.

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