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MBABANE - Unguaranteed!

This concerns the arrival of the second consignment of the COVID-19 vaccines (Oxford AstraZeneca) in the country, which will guarantee the second jab for those who have already vaccinated. This was revealed by Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi, who said no guarantees would be given, however, they were working hard to get more vaccines. “The first people to vaccinate will be due for the second jab on May 26, 2020. With only about 12 000 COVID-19 vaccines left and more people still vaccinating, what guarantee is there that more vaccines would have been delivered in the country? What is the plan regarding this?” were the questions which were directed to the minister. In response, the minister said no guarantees would be given though they were working hard to get more vaccines. She did not elaborate any further in her response. The Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is inoculated twice for it to be effective. The recommended time frame between the first and second jab is six to 10 weeks, however, specialists also advise that the second jab be taken after 12 weeks of the first one.


Nkosi is among the first people who will soon need the second jab of the Oxford AstraZeneca because she was the first to be inoculated in the country during the vaccination test run on March 17. The minister, along with the 11 other officials whom she was inoculated with, are due for the second jab on May 26, which is about six weeks away. Currently, the country is expecting the delivery of 500 000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines and the date of their arrival has not been confirmed yet. When sought for comment, World Health Organisation (WHO) Health Promotion Officer Dr Kevin Makadzange said the securing of COVID-19 vaccines for the second jab was not a headache unique to Eswatini. He said the low supply and high demand of vaccines was a current global crisis.  “People should not panic about getting their second jab. Government, in collaboration with COVAX, will do everything in its power to make sure that people get their second jab in time,” said the health promotion officer.


When asked what happened if the time for the second dose elapsed, Dr Makadzange said there would be no negative effects, however, stating that the first jab would be less effective. “What people should know is that the first jab offers protection and the second one is meant to strengthen the protection. Antibodies against COVID-19 are already made available in the body with the first jab. “So, a person would not be hurt by having one jab, it is just that they would be less protected and their antibodies might start wearing off. However, this is not to say that the second jab is less important,” said Dr Makadzange.

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