The Health Ministry has opened the booster doses, currently being rolled out in the vaccination campaign, to all adults.
In Guyana, some 2774 persons have already taken their booster dose. Initially, only health workers, persons over the age of 50 or those with comorbid conditions were eligible for the shot. But this has now changed as of Monday to include anyone 18 years and above.
“Those previous requirements that we had, where you had to be 50 years and older, we have now lowered that requirement. So, once you have received the two-dose primary regimen and six months after that two dose, you can come and get a booster dose. We want to encourage everybody who meet that requirement to make sure they get that booster dose,” announced Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony during Monday’s COVID update.
A person immunised with Sputnik V can take the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as their booster dose. Meanwhile, those with Pfizer, and Sinopharm are required to take the same vaccines respectively. Since Moderna booster shots are unavailable, Pfizer doses can work. For the AstraZeneca-immunised subset, a recommended Pfizer shot can also be taken. These shots are to be taken six months after.
Persons completely immunised with Johnson and Johnson vaccines can get the same vaccine as a booster dose two months after.
Since protection from the virus is shown to wean after some time, it is important to take the booster doses in order to restore immunity. This is especially important for persons with comorbidities, who stand a greater chance of developing a severe form of the virus.
Comorbid conditions include cancer, cerebrovascular diseases, chronic kidney diseases, chronic lung diseases, chronic liver diseases, diabetes, Down Syndrome, heart conditions, HIV, mental health disorders, neurological conditions, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell anaemia, tuberculosis, solid organ transplant patients, smokers or those with substance use disorder.
Dr Anthony also reiterated that people react differently once they are infected with the virus.
He shared, “There are some people who would get the milder form of the disease but there are lots of other persons, because of their underlying conditions, who would then develop a more severe form of the disease and then get hospitalised. As we enter the holiday season, it is important that we remind ourselves of how to behave appropriately in this COVID pandemic”.
Guyana started offering the booster shots last week. Authorities arrived at this decision after compelling data suggested that six months after the first dose, immunity starts to wean. To avoid the chance of breakthrough infections or risk compromised protection, the booster shot was mulled.
Vaccination statistics show that 738,995 vaccine doses have been administered in Guyana. A breakdown for the adult population reflects 403,537 first doses and 282,567 second doses. As such, 55.1 per cent of this cohort is full vaccinated.
For children, 29,458 first doses or 40.4 per cent were administered along with 20,659 or 28.3 per cent. Meanwhile, booster doses are at 2774. (G12)