Same protection as long as dose 2 is taken after 8 weeks: Health on vaccine

Fiji’s Ministry of Health says the AstraZeneca vaccine is as effective and provides the same level of immunity if the second dose is taken after the eighth week of receiving the first dose instead of waiting four more weeks.

When first introduced, the vaccine was recommended to be taken in two doses at an interval of 8 to 12 weeks, and it was said that waiting out 12 weeks ensures maximum protection from the impacts of the virus.

However, according to the ministry, “latest research” shows that the level of protection is the same as long as the second dose is taken eight weeks after the first dose.

“Administering the second dose at 8th week will not affect the effectiveness of the vaccine and will provide the same level of immunity against the delta variant. Additionally, it will provide earlier protection against severe illness, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19,” the ministry said in a statement.

This means individuals who had received their first dose around April end can receive their second dose from tomorrow.

The ministry will be advising those who are due for their second dose, as per the new timeline, via text message in the eighth week. They can get their second dose at the nearest vaccination site.

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