A two-week campaign to immunise 75,725 students, teachers and allied staff with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine kick-started on Wednesday.
Students, parents and school staff welcomed the decision to add 12th graders to the priority target group of the national COVID-19 immunisation plan.
Abdul Aziz Hamad al Daghari, headmaster of Al Imam al Muhanna bin Sultan School in Bausher, told Muscat Daily, “The school prepared to immunise students by setting up a special hall. We have obtained approval from the students’ parents to immunise their children. A few students were hesitant at first, but our team explained the need and the importance of immunisation. All our students and their parents agreed to be vaccinated.”
He expected more than 400 students to be vaccinated during the two-week drive, including ten who were unable to take the shot on the first day due to minor illnesses. “They will be administered the vaccine in a week’s time. The booster dose will be given after ten weeks.”
Mohammed Nasser Mahdouri, a Grade 12 student of the school, was happy that he was getting vaccinated. “It will help me in the future.”
Mohammed’s schoolmate Muath al Hassani informed that while he was happy to hear about the vaccination drive targeting students, his parents were initially hesitant. “They consented only after discussing the matter with other family members.”
He said he felt privileged to be vaccinated at a time when only individuals aged 60 and older were getting the vaccine in the country.
Mansoor al Siyabi, a parent who himself is not yet in the eligible category, was delighted that his son was getting the jab before he did. “It is good for him; it will help in the future.”
Siyabi was initially “afraid” about his son being inoculated with the virus, “but now we are happy and confident of him having normal schooling”.
Another parent, Abdullah Mubarak al Sharji said, “For life to return to normal, like before the pandemic, every citizen should be vaccinated so that children can freely go to school and college, and we can go to work without hesitation and worries.”
Sharji tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms three weeks after receiving the first dose. “I had mild fever and cough and recovered in a couple of days, thanks to that one shot.”
A person is susceptible to the infection for till 14 days after the second dose. Full effectiveness of the vaccine begins from the 14th day.
To reduce side effects
– Apply cold compress on the injection site to reduce pain, redness and swelling.
– If any of these symptoms persist or if you experience severe side effects, visit the nearest health institution.
– Use fever-reducing medication such as paracetamol to reduce fever, headache and joint pain every six to eight hours if needed.
– Continue to adhere to preventive measures, such as washing hands frequently, wearing a mask and physical distancing after taking the vaccine. Being vaccinated doesn’t end the need to be cautious.
– Pay no heed to rumors and source all information about vaccines from reliable official channels
by Syed Fasiuddin