–Roll-out plan of AstraZeneca clarified
–Second jab for first group in ‘May and June’
BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
THE 24,000 AstraZeneca vaccine received last week is meant to inoculate 24,000 people.
These people will get a second jab around May and June.
AstraZeneca is administered in two doses. Depending on the country, the second jab is taken four to 12 weeks after the first.
In our neighbour Australia, the second dose is administered after 12 weeks. Other WHO-approved vaccines such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are also taken twice.
An Australian study published in February this year, involving 17,000 participants, showed that having the second dose after three months increased the efficacy rate of AstraZeneca. Lesser periods lowers the efficacy rate.
Explaining the roll-out plan for the vaccine in Solomon Islands, Dr Yogesh Choudri, technical advisor to the ministry of health, said the first batch received on Friday last week will be administered to 24,000 people.
These vaccinated people will get their second dose when more vaccines are brought in later, he said.
“We are going to use all these doses to 24,000 people and when we receive the second batch of vaccine in May and June, we will call these people again to get their second dose.
“We decide to vaccinate 24,000 people because we are confident that we have more vaccines that will be coming into the country.
“After receiving the first dose the second one would be after between eight to 12 weeks, they should get their second dose,” he said.
Choudhri said out of the 24,000 doses of AstraZeneca received, 7,000 doses will be used in Honiara for the front liners, and the rest will be sent to the western border to protect communities along the western border from the virus.
“The vaccine will be rolled out on Wednesday at the Central Field hospital which was the identified location for roll out of the vaccine in Honiara.
“Currently a total of 24,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Solomon Islands and they are being kept right now at the National Medical stores in proper storage conditions that the vaccine requires.”