Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony says it is safe for people to take the COVID-19 vaccine immediately after their recovery from the illness, as there is no threat to their immunity.
Dr Anthony said the three-month wait period practiced in other countries, is not applicable to Guyana as there is no vaccine shortage here.
“That guidance was based solely on vaccine scarcity around the globe. So, when WHO would advise that you should wait for the three months, it’s really because persons who would have been infected would have antibodies circulating in their system for at least three months. Therefore, give another person a chance to get a vaccine.
We don’t have that kind of restriction because we have enough vaccines for people. And so, we have changed that a little bit to allow for persons who have recovered, immediately after they recovered, or we consider them recovered, that they can come and they will be eligible to receive that vaccine,” he said, during Friday’s COVID- 19 update.
However, Minister Anthony said, if an individual has tested positive for Covid, the vaccine should not be administered until that person recovers.
At the same time, he acknowledged that there may be cases where Covid positive persons may have taken the vaccine, unaware that they were infected. No harm will come to them, he said.
Dr. Anthony is also pleased that to date 4,675 persons have been fully inoculated against the disease. He said full immunity comes seven days after a person has taken their second vaccine.
The Minister also empathised the importance of persons taking their second doses of the vaccine to strengthen their immunity against the disease. He said the first dose will produce antibodies in the vaccinated person to detect and fight against the virus.
“After a certain time, these antibodies start waning in your body, and that’s a natural way of how our immune system works. So, what you do when you get a second dose is that you further boost your immune system and so the memory that your body would have, would be far greater and the immunity that you develop would last longer.
“And in many cases the efficacy that you will develop for that, using that particular vaccine, goes up right. So, if you only use first dose, first dose is going to get you at a certain level, but if you add a booster then it goes higher, and you’re even more protected. So, it’s important that you come back for your second dose.”
The Health Minister is urging the adult population to be vaccinated during the ongoing nationwide campaign.