Some more health news… At last, second COVID-19 boosters are available for over-60s, healthcare workers, and the immuno-compromised. We have been wondering about this for some time. Here is the notice from the Ministry of Health and Wellness:
KINGSTON, Jamaica. Wednesday, August 17, 2022: Jamaica is now offering a second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare workers, persons over 60 years old and members of the public with immuno-compromising conditions. The decision follows recent confirmation of the globally dominant and highly transmissible Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants in Jamaica.
An additional booster dose will offer protection from infection and severe outcomes associated with COVID-19, particularly to members of highest risk groups.
Second doses are to be administered as follows:
- Persons who have taken AstraZeneca are to receive the Pfizer vaccine as the second booster dose four months following their first booster.
- Persons who have taken a Pfizer vaccine are to receive Pfizer as the second booster dose four months following their first booster.
- Persons who have taken the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are to take the Pfizer vaccine as the second booster dose at least four months after the first booster dose.
- Persons who took the Sinopharm vaccine are to receive a second booster dose of the vaccine four months after the first booster.
To receive the booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, members of the public are invited to visit any of the Ministry’s access points for vaccination. Persons should take their vaccination card and a government-issued identification or letter from a Justice of the Peace.
Members of the public are being urged to continue their practice of infection prevention and control measures, that is, washing or sanitizing hands, avoiding crowds, wearing a face mask and keeping a physical distance of six feet apart from others.
As at Tuesday, August 17, 39,330 persons have received a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. A total of 710,718 have taken a first dose of the vaccine, and 609,015 a second dose.
Meanwhile – what is the situation regarding “Long COVID” in Jamaica? So far as we know, this is not being tracked. Of particular concern is the situation regarding our children. I agree with fellow blogger and commentator Susan Goffe that public education needs to be greatly stepped up on this issue; it’s important for students, parents and teachers to be aware of the symptoms and the dangers – and the new school year starts in a couple of weeks or so. Fatigue, “brain fog,” and headaches are the most common manifestations of Long COVID in children (and they don’t need to have had a severe bout with the disease either – they may have had “mild symptoms” during the actual COVID period). “Developmental regression” (problems with walking and talking) were also concerns, according to a Colombian participant at a recent webinar.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a COVID19 press briefing today (he reported that globally deaths from COVID-19 have increased by 35 percent):
“Learning to live with #COVID19 does not mean we pretend it’s not there. It means we use the tools we have to protect ourselves, and protect others.”
I hope we are not pretending any such thing here in Jamaica. Considering that roughly three quarters of our population are STILL not vaccinated, we are in no position to be so carefree.
Meanwhile, Jamaicans are still sick and dying from COVID-19. But it’s hardly a “hot topic” any more…
Although Dr. Tedros reminded us today:
We’re all tired of this virus, and tired of the pandemic. But the virus is not tired of us.