I hope the Government considers giving a booster shot of the Sinopharm vaccine if supplies are available to this country. Dr Amery Browne, Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, said T&T will receive 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China this week. This is good news as too many elderly people are being turned away from health centres due to an atrocious vaccination drive so far, though leadership is working assiduously to correct these mistakes. Many people are anxious to get vaccinated as Covid-19 is taking the lives of many. Newspapers reported that in a daring, desperate attempt to beat the crowd to be first in line for the Sinopharm vaccine, some people risked possible imprisonment, leaving home to head to vaccination sites during curfew hours on Friday morning.
Well-organised mass vaccination drives are the key to overcoming this pandemic and returning to life as normal; but this is a challenge to obtain in T&T due to difficulties getting enough vaccines to arm the citizens.
Sinopharm is considered to be safe as there have been no reports of serious side effects, but some countries are now questioning Sinopharm’s effectiveness over two doses.
Citizens should however still be encouraged to use whatever vaccines are available. The United Arab Emirates announced recently it will offer a third shot to recipients of the Chinese State-backed Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine six months after their initial two-dose regimen. Some residents in the UAE reported receiving a third shot amid concerns about an insufficient antibody response.
One of China’s top disease control officials acknowledged that the country’s locally produced vaccines offer low protection against the virus, adding to growing questions over the shot’s efficacy. “As part of the state’s proactive strategy to provide maximum protection for society, the door has been opened for the public to receive an additional supportive dose of the Sinopharm vaccine for people,” said Dr Farida al-Hosani, an Emirati health spokeswoman.
A range of governments, including in Hungary, Pakistan, Serbia and the Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, already administer Sinopharm. Seychelles is the world’s most vaccinated nation with up to 70 per cent of their population having received the first dose. They use Sinopharm and AstraZeneca vaccines. The president himself took the Sinopharm shot and said his experience with it has been positive despite the critics. There were reports that there was a spike in cases which raised concerns from the World Health Organisation. However, the president of Seychelles said this was mostly from unvaccinated persons. He went on to mention that people who were vaccinated were still being infected with Covid-19, but they were not becoming seriously ill or dying.
As T&T is heavily reliant on the Sinopharm vaccine the Government must consider administering a third dose to increase effectiveness if they are able to obtain more Sinopharm vaccines. Based on the experience of other nations, I am sure the Government will do the necessary research to decipher if mixing vaccines is feasible; for example, administering AstraZeneca to those who have received Sinopharm in order to provide as much protection as possible against Covid. A decision must be made soon as lives are at stake.
In spite of all the doubts surrounding vaccines, fully vaccinated people are more than 90 per cent protected against infection, a new CDC study shows. But if they do become infected, experts say they have milder Covid-19 illness than unvaccinated people.