CMO: Get second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine after 8-week interval

People wait outside the Barataria Health Centre on Monday before being allowed in to receive their covid19 vaccines. - ROGER JACOB
People wait outside the Barataria Health Centre on Monday before being allowed in to receive their covid19 vaccines. - ROGER JACOB

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram is urging those who have passed the eight-week interval after their first AstraZeneca vaccine dose, to visit one of the vaccination sites – if they haven't received a call – to get the shot.

The Ministry of Health is expected to contact, with an appointment date, those scheduled for their second dose.

On Monday, Ministry of Health accelerated its covid19 vaccination programme with the focus now on administering the second dose of AstraZeneca.

But there was some confusion on Monday as some people reported they were either turned back or told their names weren’t listed.

There were also reports of others turning up at the wrong vaccination sites, weeks before they are scheduled for their second dose.

The national vaccination rollout started on April 6. When the administering of the Sinopharm vaccine began on May 21, over 60,000 people had already received their first shot of AstraZeneca.

For the AstraZeneca vaccine, the World Health Organization recommends an eight-12-week interval before the second dose.

At the Health Ministry’s media conference on Monday, Parasram said, “Considering all epidemiological factors involved – if you notice, we would have had a 12-week timeframe and we would have given appointments – that has been brought forward to eight weeks for reason (of) the present status...

“We would like a greater proportion of the people in the country to be vaccinated with both doses at an earlier point in time. It gives us the benefit of full protection and we think it was better.”

Eastern Regional Health Authority CEO Ronald Tsoi-a-Fatt said he was aware of people turning up at the wrong vaccination sites for their second dose, earlier than the eight-week interval.

“We are pleading with the nation to present at the centre where you are supposed to be to get your vaccine and you don’t, out of anxiety or otherwise, turn up within four or five weeks.

“You need to adhere to that eight to nine-week window.

"If you haven’t received a call, we are catering for those who may not answer the phone when they are calling. We have adopted a policy in the centres that if a person turns up, once they are within the window of eight weeks and beyond, they will be vaccinated, even if they aren’t on the list for that day.”

Recipients of the second dose are asked to take along a form of identification and their immunisation cards.

How to get a first dose of Sinopharm

Walk-in arrangements for the first dose of Sinopharm will begin from Wednesday.

This is only for people 60 years and and over, or those under 60 with non-communicable diseases. This service will operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those visiting one of the 36 vaccination sites giving the Sinopharm vaccine must fit the criteria to be vaccinated.

AstraZeneca second-dose sites

People who received the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at any facility in the North West Regional Health Authority catchment area will get their second dose at The Paddock, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.

The South West Regional Health Authority will administer the second dose at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) only.

Those who got the vaccine at any of the ERHA vaccination centres are asked to visit the National Racquet Centre, Tacarigua, the Mayaro Sports Facility or the Cumana Outreach Centre for the second dose.


"CMO: Get second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine after 8-week interval"

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