Omicron: Health Ministry okays Covid booster jabs, vaccine mixing

The Ministry of Health has given a greenlight for Ugandans above 50 and those with underlying conditions to get a booster Covid jab as well as carry out vaccine mixing.

“After evaluating the evidence of reducing and waning immunity 6 to 8 weeks after full vaccination elsewhere in the world, the Ministry of Health recommends booster doses for persons aged 50 and above and those with comorbidities,” the Health Minister, Jane Ruth Aceng said on Thursday.

According to Aceng, one can get a booster dose at least six months after completing the primary Covid vaccination series and that this is aimed at restoring vaccine effectiveness from that deemed no longer sufficient.

The Health Minister said by the end of January, they will have decided whether the rest of the members of the public who are eligible can also take Covid booster jabs after attaining the recommended vaccination coverage.

“Uganda’s vaccination coverage the WHO recommended threshold. Accordingly, full scale boosting program may start at the end of January 2022 when all regions have reached 50% vaccination coverage.”

Vaccine mixing

The Health Minister said after review of evidence and in line with the World Health Organisation interim recommendations on match and mixing vaccines from different manufacturers, Ugandans can go ahead and mix the vaccines.

Aceng noted that viral vector vaccines which contain instructions for making coronavirus antigens including AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson; MRNA vaccines which use a code from SARS CoV2 to prompt and immune response in recipients including Pfizer and Moderna as whereas as inactivated vaccines where SARS CoV2 is inactivated or killed using chemicals, heat or radiation including Sinopharm and Sinovac.

“Mixing of vaccines offers advantages in enhanced immune response and therefore anticipated enhanced protection. Mixing of Covid vaccines is emerging as a good way to get people the protection they need when faced with unpredictable supplies,”Aceng said.

Earlier, the Ministry of Health UN staff who first got  Moderna does are free to get AstraZeneca as booster shots,  AstraZeneca or Pfizer  or Moderna for those who first got  Sinopharm Covid dozes and Sinovac  whereas those who got Johnson  and Johnson are free to get Pfizer or Moderna for a booster jab.

The need for  Covid vaccine boosters comes on the backdrop of a sharp rise in Covid cases in the past few weeks, courtesy of the new Covid variant, Omicron.


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