The Brunei National Vaccination Program for teenagers aged 12 to 17 officially began yesterday with the administration of the first Pfizer BioNTech dosage to around 5,000 teenagers throughout all four districts.
Parents and guardians accompanied their children to the vaccination centres to make sure everything went smoothly.
Cikgu Zainal Abidin bin Haji Kepli, Acting Director of the Department of Schools, applaud the support from parents and guardians towards the program by giving consent for their children to receive the COVID-19 shots.
“Initially, there are parents and guardians who seemed to be hesitant to vaccinate their children, but Alhamdulillah, the mass media has helped a lot in educating them. Now, more and more parents and guardians have come forward to support the programme.
By November 19, 2021, the country had set a goal of vaccinating 38,201 youngsters between 12 to 17.
Schools in Brunei have been closed for face-to-face learning since the start of the second COVID-19 outbreak in August, leaving students with online learning instead. The immunization programme is part of the nation’s effort to vaccinate children against the coronavirus and prepare them for school reopening in phases by next year.
The program is a collaboration between the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Religious Affairs. The participating students include those from public and private educational institutions as well as international schools.
Recently, FDA has given approval for Pfizer to be given for the 12-17 age group. Millions of children as young as 12 received the COVID-19 jabs globally.
Pfizer is also the only vaccine that has received approval from Brunei’s COVID-19 Vaccine National Technical Committee. To date, 66.9 per cent of Brunei’s population has been fully vaccinated, and 82.7 per cent of them has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Experience with COVID-19 shots
Awang Ahmad Danial bin Abdullah learned about the vaccine from his parents, who also assisted him with the preparation needed prior to his vaccination. After being aware of the virus’s potential risk, he recommended his friends be vaccinated as well.
“Don’t blindly trust anything you see on social media or Whatsapp without verifying the source first. Educate yourself from credible news outlets or media channels”, he said.
His mother, Dayang Lenny Yusnida binti Mohd Yusof, said, “Initially, I was scared of the side effects that my son is going to get, like how when I was receiving my first dose earlier. But after he has gotten the first dose today, I felt the sense of relief and will keep on monitoring his health and his side effects”.
She mentioned that everyone in her family had been vaccinated. She hoped for the pandemic to end soon and for everyone to be vaccinated so that the country and whole community could be safe.
She said that people who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 should obtain their injections as soon as possible, adding that “the side effects will only be temporary. Focus on eating healthy nutritious meals and get enough rest”.