HEALTH RECOMMENDATION

AstraZeneca second jab adjusted to 8 weeks after first

Ministry has further halted the issuance of the first dose and began administering the second dose.

In Summary
  • The proportion of the adult population fully vaccinated now stands at four per cent.
  • Vaccines Deployment Taskforce chair Akhwale still optimistic that targets are attainable. 
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

The Health Ministry has readjusted the duration for the administration of the second dose of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from 12 weeks to eight.

The ministry in May issued the directive that those who had received their first dose of the vaccine would be required to wait for four more weeks following a shortage of vaccines as a result of the global supply chain challenges.

The World Health Organisation recommends a waiting period of between eight and 12 weeks between doses.

The ministry further halted the issuance of the first dose and began administering the second dose. In a new directive by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, those who are due will get a notification to that effect.

“With improved vaccine supply situation in the country and while aligning with the WHO recommendations, the second dose of AZ will now be administered after eight weeks,” Kagwe said.

“People are advised to seek the second dose at the nearest vaccination centre and not necessarily at the post where the first dose was administered. This move will ensure that overcrowding does not happen at the few facilities, which are offering vaccination services,” he said.

As of Tuesday, a total of 4.2 million vaccines had been administered across the country, with 3.1 million people having been partially vaccinated and slightly above one million having been fully vaccinated.

The proportion of the adult population fully vaccinated now stands at four per cent.

“The government is working towards vaccinating a targeted population of 27 million by June next year,” he said.

Vaccines Deployment Taskforce chair Willis Akhwale is optimistic that the 5.8 million Mashujaa Day targets and 10 million December targets are still attainable.

With projections of a possible fifth wave by end of this month, the government is banking on vaccination as the key weapon in the fight against any severe disease that would otherwise overrun healthcare facilities and lead to serious deaths.

“We now have over 7.5 million doses of five types of vaccines and these have been distributed. We even started vaccinating with Pfizer last week so access is not now so much an issue but is for people to show up,” Akhwale said.

The government has prioritised the vaccination of frontline healthcare workers, teachers, security personnel and those with comorbid conditions.

Others are people aged above 50 years with data showing that 80 per cent of deaths reported in the country to date have been recorded in persons aged 58 years and above.

This is because of their weakened immunity, while most of them tend to have preexisting medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension.