MHMS; Second (2nd) COVID-19 Vaccine Dose Critical for Protection

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The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is calling on all persons who are eligible for their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine either Sinopharm or AstraZeneca to come forward to receive their 2nd dose at the Central Field Hospital (CFH).

MHMS have noted delays and slow turn up of this group of people eligible for their second vaccine dose. Few have even returned for the 2nd dose beyond the recommended 14 days following date on vaccination card to receive second dose.

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As of early this week 1,303 people who are eligible for 2nd COVID-19 vaccine dose are yet to present themselves at the CFH to receive their 2nd dose. 474 for 2nd dose Sinopharm and 829 for AstraZeneca 2nd dose. Numbers will continue to increase if low turn up continues for these group of people.

As such, the Ministry of Health would like to explain why it is of utmost important that a second dose be taken and that it is taken within the recommended time.

During the trial of COVID-19 vaccines, both Sinopharm and AstraZenca, the second dose known as the booster dose have proven to further enhance the ability of the human body to fight off COVID-19 once in contact with the virus.

Essentially this means, a person who is fully vaccinated or receiving both 1st and 2nd vaccine dose is better protected from being sick, hospitalized and die from COVID-19 than those who only receive 1 single dose. Additionally, a fully vaccinated person is less likely to spread the virus to others compared to the single dose recipient as the vaccines help to reduce the viral load or levels within the human body.

With the 2nd dose, it is recommended that for AstraZeneca group, 2nd dose be taken 14 days before or after following the date on the vaccination card received after taking the first dose while Sinopharm group will need to take their 2nd dose within 7 days following date on their cards.

In addition, we will likely incur  huge loss as some vaccines will be expiring soon especially at this time of high global demand with limited supplies of these vaccines around the world, especially considering that we had reserved these vaccines especially for people who were to be given 2nd dose.

Nevertheless, the Ministry is urging the public to take their 2nd dose as much as possible on the dates on their cards. This is crucial because there is still no evidence from studies on the effectiveness of the vaccines administered beyond the recommended time- frame.

Enabling the body to effectively fight off the virus is the goal of rolling out the vaccines to all eligible persons therefore if people are taking their second doses beyond the recommended time-frame we are not sure how they will react to the virus once they come into contact with it, in the event of a community spread. Although, we have seen minimal side effects of these vaccines, we would also like to reiterate that the scientific evidence shows that the side effects following 2nd dose of vaccine are less and milder.

It is important that the decision to come forward to take the vaccine and become fully vaccinated is done in consideration of our children who at this stage are not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines.

Let us all get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, protect our children, families, communities and country.

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