Press conference with COVID-19 Public Advisor, David Ellis and Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand – October 21, 2021. (PMO)

An optional AstraZeneca booster shot is being offered to those persons who meet specific criteria.

Co-coordinator of the National Vaccination Programme for COVID-19, Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand, made the announcement this morning during a press conference with COVID-19 Public Advisor, David Ellis.

She outlined the criteria for persons receiving the booster shots. “Those persons who have already been fully vaccinated with two previous doses. Now, these persons should have completed their second dose by the end of April this year, so that means it’s roughly those who started in February and March to have their first doses…. The second condition is that they should also be over 70 years old and we are going to start with the older and more vulnerable persons initially; those persons who might have immunocompromised situations and frontline … healthcare workers.”

When questioned about the need for this additional shot, she responded that boosters are nothing new.  “Vaccines are not 100% effective, all the time. So, there is always a necessity to do a booster. We do boosters for polio; we have five and six different doses of polio. We have boosters for tetanus; we have boosters for most of the vaccines. So, this is no different.

“When we started, we did not know if we would need boosters. But what is happening, we see it in America; we see it in Canada, in UK, all around … there’s breakthrough with cases. In other words, cases are occurring in higher numbers again, and even in people who are vaccinated. So, it means that the immunity is waning. And we’re using a six-month period as the waning period. So, we’re using a booster to stimulate and boost those people who have already had two doses. So, it’s a waning of immunity really….,” she stated.

Persons who meet the criteria for receiving the booster may visit the Masonic Centre at Salters, St. George, which is the main site for administering the shot. They may also go to any other vaccination centre and clearly state that they would like to receive the booster. All relevant documentation should be presented.

fabian.belgrave@barbados.gov.bb

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