COVID vaccine booster now available for people over 50 & those with comorbidities
One month after he said it was fundamentally wrong to revaccinate someone who is already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony on Friday urged persons to get revaccinated or get a booster shot.
Persons who are 50 years and older along with those who have comorbidities (underlying medical conditions) that are above 18-years-old are now eligible for booster shots.
He said that the rollout of booster shots will start next week.
During his daily COVID-19 update, Dr Anthony explained that persons can take a booster shot six months after being administered both doses of a COVID vaccine. Those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can receive the booster shot after 52 days.
“We have concluded based on data and recommendations from more stringent authorities that a booster shot is necessary.
“From next week we want to make booster shots available to persons 50 years and above,” Dr Anthony said.
He explained data has shown that six months after the second vaccine dose, the immunity starts to wean.
“If the immunity starts to wean it, therefore, means the chances are persons can get infected, there can be breakthrough infections and the protection that the vaccine would normally [do] for persons, preventing them from getting a severe form of the infection, that can start to wean,” Dr Anthony said.
The government is now considering whether to mix the vaccines for the booster shot, which would be the third shot of a two-dose vaccine and the second shot of a single dose.
“In some cases, it can remain the same, if you had two doses of Pfizer, you can get a third dose of Pfizer; for some people they would like to have mix and matching.
“…by Monday we will have that out in the public, if persons go out to do their boosters on Monday that information will be provided,” Dr Anthony stated.
He has assured that there are enough vaccines available for booster shots.
“We don’t need to acquire booster shots; we have the existing vaccines that we are giving.”
Meanwhile, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has classified several conditions as comorbidities; – cancer, cerebral vascular diseases, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease, diabetes, down syndrome, heart conditions, HIV, mental health disorders, neurological conditions, obesity, pregnant, smokers, sickle cell, organ transplant, and tuberculosis.
The government has recorded a 79.3 per cent vaccination rate of the first dose in persons who are 60 years and above; the second dose thus far is 66.6 per cent.
For persons between 40 and 59, 77.1 per cent received their first dose and 57.6 per cent received their second dose.
For persons between 18 and 39, 73 per cent received their first dose and 44.6 per cent received their second dose.
For children between the ages of 12 and 18, 39.2 per cent received their first dose and 27.1 per cent received their second dose.
Overall, 77 per cent of the adult population received their first dose and 52.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.