Less people than expected have come to the vaccination centres to receive their second dose of the Sinopharm vaccines.
4478 people were expected to complete their COVID-19 vaccination course by Saturday 6th February. However, just over 1500 people have come to the vaccination centres for the second dose of the vaccine so far.
The Ministry of Health began administering second doses of the Sinopharm vaccines on Friday 5th February, moving the appointment schedule a few days earlier than planned. The change in the vaccination plan put the country well ahead to reaching the vaccination target.
The National COVID-19 vaccination campaign using the Sinopharm vaccine will continue for people aged 18 to 60 years who have already received the first dose.
Those who have not yet received their second dose are advised to follow the schedule which is published daily by the Ministry of Health. The schedule is shared on radio, social media, website and in email and it features the new dates for the appointments which will vary from those received after the first dose.
However, looking at the current turnout, health authorities fear that few people will come to the vaccination centres as people may not truly comprehend the importance of receiving the second dose.
While the first dose trains the immune system to recognise the virus, the second dose strengthens that immune response by boosting the production of antibodies.
Therefore, without the second dose of the vaccine response to a possible COVID-19 infection in future would be inefficient and may result in severe illness.
The other reason for a low turnout at vaccination centres may be due to side effects experienced by clients after receiving the first dose.
However, health authorities reassure that reactions to the vaccine is expected and these may include, fever, slight pain and swelling at the injection site, nausea, body aches and others. Members of the public are advised to treat these side effects at home and that they should subside after a few days.
While, side effects are expected from the second dose of the vaccines, the long-term benefits of completing the course vaccine outweighs the individual discomfort.
The Ministry of Health is extending a special call to action to members of the public who have received their first dose of the vaccines to complete the course to ensure sufficient protection against the COVID-19 virus is achieved.
Under new guidelines issued by the Public Health Authority, no COVID-19 screening tests is needed for persons placed under home quarantine during or upon completion of the quarantine period. Testing may be recommended for persons who develop symptoms of the infection. All persons placed under home quarantine who develop symptoms are advised to visit the special stations at Glacis Health Centre, Baie Lazare Health Centre and Mont Fleuri Health Centre. The home quarantine period should be completed for 14 days, from arrival in Seychelles or last contact with a positive case of COVID-19. A certificate of quarantine will be presented at the end of the quarantine period.
Anyone with symptoms related to COVID-19 are asked to report to special stations at Glacis Health Centre, Baie Lazare Health Centre and Mont Fleuri Health Centre between 8am-12pm and 1pm-2pm. People who use these health centres for regular consultations, should go to their regional centres.