A suggestion for Dr Tufton on who should get the 55,000 vaccines
The plan to give Jamaicans who got the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine a second dose starting next month, using the latest batch of AstraZeneca vaccines, should be seriously reconsidered. The question is whether that is the best way to manage the vaccine roll-out.
With only 135,473 people receiving the first dose of the vaccine, it might make more sense to delay the second dose and vaccinate more people. That way we would have a larger number of people with partial protection from a first dose, instead of fewer with full protection from a second dose.
We have to be careful how we compare ourselves with the United States, but this is the approach they used and it saved a great many lives, according to the highly respected New York Times newspaper.
There is as yet no data to say that a longer delay between the two doses is harmful. But by rushing to give a second dose, we are causing thousands to wait needlessly for their first jab. The Ministry of Health and Wellness expects to give the second doses to 40,000 people in May.
Better to give those to people not yet vaccinated. It’s the poorer, less educated people who have lower vaccination rates; and a delay in second shots would allow the country to double the number of people who receive a first shot in coming weeks.
Something for Dr Christopher Tufton and his team to think about.
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