Health Minister reiterates calls for persons to take Covid-19 vaccine second dose

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony has noted that many persons are not taking their Covid-19 vaccines, despite the fact that sufficient jabs are available for everyone in the country. He is therefore again calling on persons to take their second shots and be fully immunised.

The minister was providing the daily Covid-19 update on Monday.

“We still have a number of persons who should come forward to get their first dose vaccines, and in every region we’re still not at that 80 percent, except for Region Four, where we are at 82 something percent, all other regions are below 80 percent and therefore there is still a lot of room for persons to come forward and get one of the covid 19 vaccines,” the health minister said.

Another concern he noted, is that persons who took the first dose, are not returning for their second dose.

“What we are seeing is that persons have received their first dose vaccine but they are not coming back for their second dose, and we want to encourage those persons who have received a first dose to come forward and get their second dose as quickly as possible,” he noted.

The ministry has currently stopped giving first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, however, there is adequate second doses for persons who took the first shot.

There are also adequate first and second doses of Sinopharm and Sputnik V, with another shipment only arriving in the country last week. There are also adequate doses of the Single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“A week ago, the FDA has recommended that after 52 days you will have to get a booster shot so right now, we are examining the possibility of that but as of now the J&J will remain a single dose,” Dr Anthony said.

“We have vaccines that are available and we want to make sure that people come and get vaccinated, because if they don’t then we are going to have where the unvaccinated persons are the ones who are predominantly ending up getting sick with covid, ending up in the hospital and of those some of them are dying because they have not been vaccinated,” he added.

The minister said there is also a disparity in the adolescent population.

“For the children we initially saw a rapid uptake of the vaccines and these are the Pfizer vaccines, however I think over the last week we have started to see a slow off where not as many children are coming forward to get vaccinated. We need this to go up back again because if children are not properly vaccinated, its gonna take a long time for us to return safely to school and therefore I would urge that parents take their children to get vaccinated,” Dr. Anthony said.

The health minister also noted that apart from children, the Pfizer vaccine is also being administered to pregnant and breastfeeding women.

“We just have to keep encouraging, I know that there is a lot of nonsense that people read on the internet and because of that they become hesitant and we have some persons locally, as well who have been sharing a lot of misinformation, I think people have to be a little bit more discerning, and they have to be smart and think about what it is that’s going to protect their health, and certainly from all the scientific evidence, these vaccines are the things that are going to protect you,” Dr. Anthony noted.

The health minister said there is still a lot of work that needs to be done when it comes to vaccination. “We need that final push to get the numbers up so we could get closer to herd immunity.”

Currently 73.6 percent of the adult population has been vaccinated with the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine while 46.4 percent has had their second dose.