This date is in keeping with the advised 10 to 12-week timeline for the administration of the second dose, where research has shown that in the longer interval, the vaccine is most effective.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Ms Tasha K. Bertie explained that persons should refer to their vaccination cards and calculate at least ten weeks from the date the first dose was administered, to know when they can receive the second.
“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,” she said.
The move comes as researchers found that longer intervals between the first and second vaccine doses, resulted in greater COVID-19 antibody production in persons who received the jabs.
In a statement delivered during the March 10, 2021, sitting of the House of Assembly (HoA) Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Maline (AL) said that data taken from pooled double-blinded randomized controlled studies in which 17,178 participants received the AstraZeneca vaccine, researchers found that the vaccines were more effective when taken in 12-week intervals.
“The study determined that vaccine efficacy was 81.3% after 2 standard doses were given 12 weeks apart, versus 51.1% when given after 2 standard doses six weeks apart.”
He said the study also showed that persons developed double the antibodies to fight the virus after taking the second vaccine does in 12 weeks, compared to those who took the second dose in intervals of less than 6 weeks.