Dominican residents wishing to avail themselves of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine provided to Dominica by the government of India, have until Monday March 29, 2021 to do so and administration of the second dose has now been extended by two weeks, according to officials of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Director of Primary Health Care, Dr. Laura Esprit, said recently that based on advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the timeline for the second dose had been increased from six weeks to eight weeks, in order to obtain maximum benefits from the vaccine.
“Individuals who have received the vaccine on February 12th, 2021, and given an appointment for the second dose on March 26, 2021, are advised that their new date for the second dose is April 9th 2021,” Dr. Esprit stated. “So, those dates are for persons who actually received it on the first day, February 12,” she said.
While there are concerns about side effects being more severe with the second dose of the vaccine, Health Minister, Dr. Irvin Mcintyre, is warning that while the first dose can offer some level of protection with antibodies, it’s nowhere near the 95% efficacy one can get with the second dose.
Emphasizing the need for citizens to get the second jab, he cautioned that skipping the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine will slow down how quickly “our lives can get back to normal.”
“You get those little side effects with vaccines and nothing has been major. Just a little fever, little chill, little joint pain, little headache – nothing of significance – so I really don’t think people should be so concerned about going for the second dose or I don’t think that should discourage people from going for their first dose,” the Health Minister stated. “My message, look, these are just minor little side effects; no serious, no significant side effects have come up from this vaccine so far not just in Dominica or internationally.”
Dr. McIntyre called on the media to work alongside the Ministry of Health and Wellness to propagate the idea that all citizens should be vaccinated.
“Granted, we understand the fact that a lot is going on on social media and people have their different ideas and in all fairness, we can understand those reservations but we have to look at the bigger picture and we have to follow the science and we should all get vaccinated,” he informed.
According to recent figures, more than 15, 000 individuals have gotten vaccinated in Dominica while there are 9 active COVID-19 cases on the island.