Ag. Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Telephone: 468-3701 ext. 852 7742
Residents who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should prepare to schedule the second dose after April 22.
This date is in line with the newly advised ten to 12 week timeline for the administration of the second dose.
Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone during the Sixth Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on March 10, explained that the new preferred dosing interval was advised by the medical experts and the Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Social Development.
Honourable Malone explained that this guidance takes into account the very clear and published two-fold improvement in the antibody response and 26.2 percent greater efficacy within the 10 to 12 week dose interval over the previously announced six-week regime.
The Health Minister said, “From a legal and ethical standpoint Mister Speaker, it is our hope that persons will follow the new regime, and if they are being advised otherwise or choosing a smaller dosing interval should do so with full information of the disadvantages.”
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Ms. Tasha Bertie explained that persons who received their first dose should refer to their vaccination cards and calculate at least ten weeks from the date the dose was administered. Thereafter, persons should schedule their appointments online by visiting ministryofhealth.gov.vg/vaccines.
Ms. Bertie stated, “Persons who show up prior to the April 22 date without their vaccination cards to prove they received their first dose and to verify the date, will be assisted. Hence, residents who received their vaccinations are encouraged to secure their cards to ensure they receive their second dose at the appropriate time.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister Malone continues to encourage as many persons as possible to receive their first dose and as quickly as possible. During the Sitting of House of Assembly, he stated that the first dose of vaccine affords very high efficacy against COVID-19 of the order of 76 percent in the short term against symptomatic COVID-19 and 63.9 percent when including both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases.
“We are also aware that the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine reduces infectiousness by as much as 67 percent and has also led to dramatic reductions of hospitalisation in the United Kingdom of over 80 percent and as high with just under 20 million persons out of an approximately 60 million population having been vaccinated,” he said.
Honourable Malone further added that it is important for residents to get vaccinated so that the Territory can reap the benefits through the concept of herd immunity where if a sufficient number of persons are vaccinated, it will interrupt the ability of an infectious disease such as COVID-19 to be transmitted through the population and ultimately allow for review of the current entry protocols.
COVID-19 vaccination centres are open Monday through Friday and are available to all residents age 18 and older. Persons are encouraged to register online at ministryofhealth.gov.vg/vaccines but walk-ins will also be accommodated with in-person registration on site. To find out more information on COVID-19 Vaccines, persons can also visit www.bvi.gov.vg/covid-19.