The Ministry of Health and Social Services is today announcing that individuals wishing to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus must register to receive their first dose of the vaccine by March 31st 2021.
The Ministry of Health indicated that this cut- off date is necessary to accommodate the vaccine’s new dosing regimen and to ensure that registered individuals can be fully vaccinated before this first batch of vaccines reaches their expiry date.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharra Greenaway- Duberry stated; “When we began our vaccination programme, the recommendation was a 4- 12-week gap between doses, however emerging data from research studies and the World Health Organization suggests that administering the doses at 8 to 12 weeks apart allows for an improved immune response as such we are moving to an 8-week protocol. We want to get as many persons vaccinated under this new protocol and prevent any wastage of vaccines. After we complete this first cycle of vaccinations, we will once again open registration when a new shipment of vaccines has arrived.”
Dr. Greenaway- Duberry also said that persons who were issued 4 week appointments for their second dose of the vaccine can change to 8 weeks should they prefer to do so. “I want to emphasize that the vaccine is proven effective at the initial 4 week dosing protocol so if you wish to keep that appointment you can however, if persons are more comfortable receiving their second vaccination at the 8 week mark they can contact the Health Center where they were vaccinated and request a new appointment.”
In a further update the Ministry indicated that as of Monday, 23 February, 782 residents were registered for vaccination and 652 residents had received their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID- 19 vaccine.
Registration continues at the 4 Health Centres. Persons wishing to register are advised to contact the Health Centre of their choice via telephone or access the online registration form at www.gov.ms/vaccination.