Wednesday, April 17, 2024

COVID-19 booster shots available starting next week on the island

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Starting Monday, November 1st, booster shots against COVID-19 will be available in San Pedro Town for healthcare personnel, residents ages 60 and over, and those with comorbidities. The booster shots are recommended six months after being fully vaccinated and will be available for AstraZeneca and Pfizer doses. Eligible persons are asked to bring their vaccination card when visiting the San Pedro Lions Den vaccination center.

Over the past weeks, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has debated the need for booster doses. On Wednesday, October 27th, during the weekly Cabinet meeting, the government finally approved booster shots for qualified individuals. Health officials also said mix-and-match COVID booster doses are approved, such as someone fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca, for example, can get a Pfizer booster shot.

The booster is recommended six months after the initial series of vaccination. According to studies, it helps by giving the individual a more extended period of protection against becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. A third dose has become necessary as the immunity received and achieved from the first two doses wanes over time. The initial vaccines’ efficacy also becomes less or inadequate against some variants, such as the Delta virus.

When can recovered COVID patients be vaccinated?

Another medical update from island medical personnel is that if someone had COVID-19, the waiting period between infection and vaccination was six months. However, the duration has changed, and fully recovered patients can now seek vaccinations 30 days after recovery. The government urges Belizeans to get vaccinated as it is one of the only viable solutions to fighting the pandemic. The country has a good amount of vaccines available at no cost. The number of persons who have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of October 27th is over 205,000, and those fully vaccinated are now over 177,000, or 41.2% of the entire population.

Over the past days, deaths related to the virus continue to increase, with 18 recorded in four days. As of Thursday, October 28th, there were 41 hospitalizations, 25 of them unvaccinated. There were two deaths reported, one unvaccinated and the other partially vaccinated. There are currently 2,629 active COVID-19 cases in the country, and the death toll is 491.

Everyone is advised to continue being cautious, sanitize hands properly, observe social distancing, and wear masks when in public places.

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