For many who have already had their first COVID-19 vaccine jabs, its been almost 4 weeks now and in another 4 weeks, it would be time to take the second and last jab to ensure the vaccine’s full efficacy against the coronavirus disease.
Indeed new research has shown that the longer the interval between Covid-19 shots, the better it is for your immune system to make the necessary adjustments to combat the disease whenever it dares to attack the body.
So don’t panic if a second dose isn’t available exactly when your next and final jab is due.
Globally, Covid-19 vaccine rollouts have gone about as well as efforts to get the pandemic under control in the first place.
Some countries, like Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain, have managed to give significant portions of their populations the shots they need. Others, like the US and Canada, are trying to get more people vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Delays in vaccinations are partially the result of vaccine supply shortages, and partially the result of fragmented, underfunded healthcare systems lacking in federal support.
People who have received one shot may have to wait much longer than the recommended three or four weeks to get their second dose especially in the United States.
Fortunately, these delays don’t necessarily spell disaster. “It’s really not a problem,” says David Topham, a microbiologist and immunologist at the University of Rochester in New York.
In the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trials, participants received their shots 21 days apart; Moderna participants received theirs 28 days apart. When the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted these vaccines emergency use authorization, it did so prescribing those exact intervals for each, since that’s what they had data for. But now it could take longer without any serious consequences.
The FDA has since acknowledged that spacing doses a little farther apart may not hurt. And on Jan. 21, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it’s okay to receive a second vaccine dose as many as four days early, or 42 days after the first dose.
Neither agency has much data on what extra time between shots does to the vaccines’ effectiveness, but the CDC considers it a “permissible risk.” What is important is that both doses come from the same manufacturer.
In Ghana, the first batch of people took their first COVID-19 jabs in early March, 2021 and most of them are expected to get the second jab in early May. That’s some 8 weeks apart.
Government hopes to vaccinate 80% of the population by the close of the year, with the intention to acquire herd immunity as a means to bringing the deadly and lethal virus under control.