Health ministry makes recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines
THE MINISTRY OF Health, Wellness and the Environment is in possession of sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccines (Astra-Zeneca, Sputnik V, Pfizer) to vaccinate all of those persons who are eligible for vaccination.
The Pfizer Vaccine is now fully approved by the FDA and other approvals may follow in the upcoming months, states a release from the Ministry of Health.
The Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 is currently the dominant variant in most of the western world and is circulating in many of our neighboring countries. Although SVG has detected only three case of the delta variant in arriving quarantined travelers, it is very likely that more cases of this highly contagious variant will be detected in our shores.
Current research has confirmed that all of the vaccines present in St. Vincent and the Grenadines remain effective against the delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
However, persons must be fully vaccinated in order to ensure optimal protection against this variant. Additionally, persons, even vaccinated ones, are strongly encouraged to continue to consistently wear masks properly, wash or sanitize their hands and appropriately physical distance.
The drugs Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine are not recommended for the treatment for Covid-19 and the Ivermectin formulation designed for horses and cattle is unapproved for human consumption.
The following recommendations are based on consideration of the available research and guidance for the use of the COVID-19 vaccines available in SVG:
1) Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac): a) Persons vaccinated with Sputnik V (one or two components) who need to travel to countries such as Canada, Trinidad and Tobago that have not yet recognized Sputnik V are advised that: i) The pending Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of Sputnik V by the WHO is likely to be addressed by mid-September 2021; ii) If travel is eminent, full vaccination with either AstraZeneca or Pfizer is recommended.
b) Persons who have received only component I of the Sputnik V are advised that: i) The new recommended dosing interval between Sputnik V component I and component II is now three (3) to twelve (12) weeks; ii) Component II should be available in St. Vincent and the Grenadines within the twelve (12) week period commencing at the administration of component I; iii) Persons traveling to countries which recognize Sputnik V should be granted a vaccination card for Sputnik Light; iv) They can receive AstraZeneca or Pfizer as a second dose once three (3) weeks have elapsed since the receipt of Sputnik V Component I.
2) AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria, Covishield):
a) First and second doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are available as the Community Nursing Service is currently in possession of a significant quantities of doses of AstraZeneca vaccines which expire at the end of October 2021.
b) Vaxzevria is approved for use in the USA.
3) Pfizer (Comirnaty):
The Pfizer Vaccine Comirnaty is now fully approved for regular use by the FDA for persons 16 years and older. Emergency use authorization remains in place for persons between 12 years to 16 years.
a) Sufficient Pfizer doses are available in SVG to be offered to persons twelve (12) years and older.
b) Pfizer vaccines are available at the Buccament Polyclinic, the Planned Parenthood Building in Paul’s Avenue, the Levi Latham Health Complex, the Stubbs Polyclinic, the Georgetown Health Centre, the Port Elizabeth Health Centre and the Union Island Health Centre.
c) Interested persons should register on line and/or call their nearest vaccination site.
4) Mixing vaccines: Studies have shown that mixing or combining heterologous (different) vaccines (a first dose of AstraZeneca followed with a second dose of Pfizer) as opposed to homologous (the same type) vaccines (first and second doses of AstraZeneca), produces very similar stimuli resulting in strong, positive immune and antibody responses.
a) AstraZeneca or Sputnik V component I can be administered as a first dose followed by Pfizer as a second dose. The recommended dosage interval is at least 3-4 weeks depending on which vaccine is administered as the first dose.
b) Currently many countries including Canada, France and Barbados accept mixed vaccines.
5) Boosters: a) Persons who are fully vaccinated with Sputnik V or AstraZeneca can receive a booster of Pfizer or AstraZeneca after six (6) to eight (8) months, especially if they belong to a high-risk category.