In a bid to speed up completion of the vaccination course amongst the population, the Ministry of Health has moved appointment dates to administer the second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine a few days earlier.
While individuals who have already received the first dose of the Sinopharm vaccines expected to this phase of the campaign to begin on Sunday 7th February, they were instead invited to take the second as of Friday 5th February. Many have questioned this change in the schedule expressing concerns over the effect this would have over the efficiency of the vaccines.
Speaking during an interview on Monday 8th February 2021, Dr Sanjeev Pugazhendhi, a Medical Officer, explained that the change in appointment date to give the second dose of the vaccine does not have a negative impact on the efficiency of the vaccine.
“Based on the information that we have from the manufacturer of the Sinopharm vaccines, the minimum interval at which the second dose of the vaccine can be given is two weeks,” Dr Sanjeev said.
He further explained that the ideal interval is at least 3 to 4 weeks and that the new dates fall within an acceptable timeline to give the vaccine for maximum efficiency as there ought to be at least a break of 21 days between both doses the vaccine.
While research on the different dosing intervals for the various types of COVID-19 vaccines continue, the Ministry of Health considers moving up of the dates a strategic step, given the pandemic and its impact on the country.
“Considering that there is an outbreak in the country, we have moved the interval between doses for Sinopharm to 3 weeks to give full protection to the people a little earlier without compromising the efficacy of the vaccines,” Dr Sanjeev concluded.
The Ministry of Health is urging everyone who have received the first dose of the Sinopharm vaccines to go for their second dose. Getting the second injection is crucial to ensuring that vaccination is effective. Members of the public can go to the vaccination centre where they received the first dose according to the schedule for vaccination.
Multiple positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Seychelles since the first in March 2020. The Ministry of Health estimates that at least 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated with both doses of the vaccines to help stop the spread of the virus.
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.