‘COVID’ vaccination hours soon extended to 8 pm; 2nd dose vital for efficacy

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COVID-19 vaccination sites will soon see an extension in operating hours to 8 pm as the government continues to encourage persons to become vaccinated with not only the first but both doses of the vaccines.

Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, said the extension of the operating hours will be done as a trial, commencing on May 22, to see if it would encourage more persons to access the vaccines which the government has made available.

A few weeks ago, the government had extended the hours from 4 pm to 6 pm, but Dr Anthony is still not happy with the countrywide vaccination uptake. He said some vaccination sites, whether fixed or mobile, are empty all day with staff just sitting around and no one turning up to receive the vaccine.

The Health Minister said that in addition to the extended hours for vaccination, work will continue at the weekends with several outreaches planned.

As of Tuesday, May 18, 2021, a total of 172, 311 persons in Guyana received the first dose of one of the three vaccines being offered here – AstraZeneca, Sinopharm or Sputnik V.

Of that figure, 38, 467 received both the first and second dose of the vaccine.

Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony [Photo: News Room/September 24, 2020]
“Missing the second dose affects efficacy… look if you realised that you have missed the date for your second dose, then I advise you to come as early as possible; if you do that then I don’t see any problem but for prolonged intervals, let’s say months, it will present some difficulty,” Dr. Anthony said during his COVID-19 update on Wednesday.

He said citizens must understand that while the first dose offers some protection, the vaccine works best with both doses.

“The first dose stimulates your immune system and your body starts producing antibodies about seven days… when you get the second dose, the level of antibodies keeps climbing and your body would be prepared to fight any COVID-19 exposure… if you don’t get the second dose, what happens is that the antibodies peaks to a level and then remain there for a while and then would wean,” Dr Anthony added.

He assured that both doses offer more robust protection. The minister also said that despite trials internationally, Guyana is not mixing vaccines.

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