COVID19: Govt mulls offering second dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

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COVID-19: Govt mulls offering second dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Ministry of Health is considering offering a second shot of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine. This was revealed by Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, during his daily COVID-19 update.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is currently being offered as a single shot. However, to boost its efficacy, scientists around the world have been vouching for a second shot to be administered.

According to an article published by CNN in mid-October, the US Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee, along with international health bodies, recommended: “that all adults who received the single dose J&J shot should get a second vaccine at least two months after their first dose.”

The minister said that as this is being negotiated, Guyana will closely follow the recommendations of these highly credible and authoritative organisations.

“We in Guyana, we would certainly review the technical information that is emerging from the CDC, and see whether or not we would need to change our recommendations,” said the health minister.

In light of the Omicron variant that has begun to ravage lives in several parts of the world and amidst allegations that vaccination is no longer effective against this new variant, Dr. Anthony reassured that vaccination is still the most viable option in fighting the virus.

“Almost all the vaccines are built around presenting to our immune system that spike protein so that it would elicit an immune response from our bodies without giving us the disease. But if the spike protein has mutated so much, having 32 mutations, then when Omicron comes with all these mutations, initially the body might have a difficulty in recognising it…and because of that, a lot of people are getting infected very quickly,” the minister pointed out.

He added, “If you have been vaccinated, more than likely you can get infected or reinfected…but you’ll more than likely get a milder form of COVID-19 which means that we might not see so many hospitalisations nor so many deaths. However, you can still have hospitalisation and you will still have deaths.”

Over the last 24 hours, Guyana recorded 21 new COVID-19 cases. There are now 818 active cases, with Region Four leading the way with 390 of those cases.

Some 38 persons are currently hospitalised, 11 of whom are in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

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