Administration of Covid-19 booster doses picking up

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The Ministry of Health is seeing a favourable increase in the administration of the COVID-19 booster shots to the adult population here following its roll-out last week.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, said some 1,914 persons have thus far received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think it’s now picking, up; a lot of people are coming forward now. Initially, it started out very slow. A couple of regions didn’t start their booster campaign on time, but I think that’s getting much better now.”

Since the roll out of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign earlier this year, the AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been used. For persons who took the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, a booster shot of the Sinopharm vaccine is recommended 52 days after the dose.

Those who took the Sinopharm vaccine, can take the same vaccine as their booster shot three to six months after the second jab. It is advised that persons who have been immunised using the AstraZeneca vaccine, can receive an MRNA vaccine, which should be taken six months after the second dose. A shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine can be used as a booster shot for the Sputnik V vaccine.

Currently, only a select group of persons are eligible for the jabs. However, in light of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, Dr. Anthony stated this is being reexamined.

“We’re right now considering various options but as of now the requirements are that if you’re 50 years older, and you would have gotten your second dose about six months ago, then you’re eligible for a booster shot. If you are 18 years and older and you have a comorbidity or several comorbidities then you can get a booster shot once you have the time interval. If you are a frontline worker, and you’re 18 years and older, then you can get a booster shot.”

Previously, the health minister said several studies were used to guide the decision to begin the administration of booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Booster doses are currently available at all of the Ministry of Health’s vaccination sites countrywide.