More than six weeks after the Ministry of Health announced that it had run out of 2nd dose shots of the Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine, the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony today revealed that 2nd dose shots have been sourced and the administration of the needed 2nd doses will begin tomorrow.
The arrival of the vaccine comes as thousands of persons are entering their 11th week since they got their first dose of the vaccine. There was an initial 4 to 12-week window period between the first and second dose of the vaccine. But the manufacturer recently expanded that to six months.
‘We have been able now to get second dose Sputnik v into the country and of tomorrow we will start administering the second dose of the Sputnik v. We also have given people a time and that is between 4 weeks and 12 weeks when you can come and get the second dose of the vaccine. If you wait for that 12-week period, the longer you wait, the better you will get the durability of your immune response.” the Heath Minister said during his daily covid-19 update.
Dr. Anthony said the 2nd dose which is now available will be given to persons who took their first dose in April because they are closer to the 90-day period.
“We are now getting in these second doses. So, we have a set that came in and next week we are going to get a next set. So everyone who would have received their first dose of the Sputnik V will get their second dose,” the Minister said.
On the other hand, the Health Minister said that the three main vaccines which are currently being utilized in Guyana; the Russian Sputnik V, the Chinese Sinopharm and the Oxford AstraZeneca could protect citizens from severe illness for up to one year.
He explained that there are ongoing studies in terms of the durability of the vaccines and how long their protection could last.
He said because the vaccines have only recently being administered, there is no confirmation on the exact amount of time a person would be protected after they have been fully vaccinated.
“We know for sure now that these vaccines have been in use for more than a year now and once you have both doses of these vaccines that you will get protection for at least a year. That is based on the current evidence that we have,” The Health Minister explained.
Dr. Anthony did not say whether persons would need fresh doses of the vaccines after the protection period elapses but noted that constant studies are being done and the protection could very well last beyond a year.
He said persons after doing their due diligence, could choose which one of the vaccines they should take.
“People would have varying preferences and so depending on their preferences we are able to give them. The only caveat that we have is that some of the vaccines, they are specific age groups that can receive them. So, for instance, with the Sinopharm vaccine, the manufacturers have advised us that persons sixty years and over, should not receive the Sinopharm vaccine because they are not as effective,” the Health Minister explained.