Kenya: Explainer – Why You Must Get Second Covid-19 Vaccine Dose

Last week, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe assured the recipients of the first phase of Covid-19 in his second dose of the shot this week.

Earlier, the ministry advised on the interval between the first and second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which should be eight weeks apart.

It has now been 11 weeks since the first cases hit on March 5th. However, with the global shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, the health ministry changed the guidelines for the 12-week interval.

As hope for a second dose approaches, Nation.Africa spoke with Dr. Richard Aya, a public health specialist and member of the Covid-19 National Vaccine Implementation Working Group, and he answered some frequently asked questions about the second shot. .

Why should I take the second dose of the vaccine?

The first dose of Covid-19 does not give you complete protection against the disease. Protection against the disease after receiving the first dose accumulates slowly and mainly protects against severe illness. The second dose is a boost to this, as it protects against infection to some extent and generally offers a higher level of protection.

What level of immunity do I get after the second dose and for how long will I be protected?

You will probably get about 90% protection after the second shot. It is not clear how long the protection will last after receiving the second dose. The first recipients of the vaccine worldwide received it sometime last year, and so far protection against serious diseases and infections is still ongoing.

Analysis of phase III studies by AstraZeneca suggested an increase in efficacy levels from 76% at the first dose to 82%.

Should I get vaccinated in the same hand?

The Covid-19 vaccine is injected into the upper arm and is not poured into a stone, whichever side – left or right hand – is appropriate. You can choose one of your hands and the result will remain the same – protection from serious illness.

Will I have to ease the public health measures introduced?

These guidelines will remain in effect even after receiving the second dose of vaccination, unless otherwise prescribed. So far, our country has vaccinated over 900,000 people and this is too small a percentage to achieve herd immunity. We can only ease restrictive measures when we know that the majority of the population is protected.

I concluded Covid-19 between the first and second dose, should I go for the second shot?

In this case, you should not go for the second stroke until your GP advises you. This is because you have had double exposure to the virus, first making the first shot and then the real virus. This means that your immune system is already paramount.

Once I had side effects after the first shot, will the side effects I am likely to get after the second shot be different?

You will still get similar side effects, but they are usually mild and just like the first dose, they disappear after two to three days. Some of the side effects that people get include; headache, fever, muscle and joint pain, chills, fatigue and nausea. There are very rare and few reports of blood clots, also identified as one of the side effects of the European Medical Agency.

Why was the waiting period extended from eight to 12 weeks?

In Kenya, the delay is mainly due to a shortage of doses in the country and further worldwide. But studies also show that the 12-week interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is better. It is important to have this waiting period because your immune system takes time to increase.

Why should we wait for the second dose?

When you are exposed to something, your immune system is split in two, there is an immediate response; for example, when you smell something bad and sneeze at that moment. It is limited and operates on site. Your white blood cells then begin to prepare to act on the specific thing you have been exposed to, and it usually takes a minimum of 21 days for a new cell to be produced.