Covid-19: additional doses of anti-covid vaccine applied in Madagascar –

Madagascar applies the “boost” system, or even additional doses, of anti-covid vaccines. In an internal circular issued on January 14 by the director of the Expanded Vaccination Program, which is said to have leaked and landed on social networks, all health officials are asked to ” apply (…) an additional dose after the complete doses of the primary series “.

This dose, also called boost, is open to anyone who has already completed the recommended doses of a given vaccine five months after the last dose. Indeed, if the person has received a dose of Janssen vaccine as a primary vaccination, they may receive an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine. If the person received two doses of the Covishield and/or AstraZeneca vaccine as a primary vaccination, they may receive an additional dose of the same vaccine or of the Pfizer vaccine. And if the person received two doses of Pfizer first, they can be injected with an additional dose of the same vaccine.

The Director General of Preventive Medicine within the Ministry of Public Health explains that the districts that have fulfilled all the technical conditions for the implementation of this new provision can already apply it. Technically, the injection of this additional dose can be carried out on people vaccinated since the start of the campaign and who have already completed their vaccination schedule. Even those who have been vaccinated with the vaccine supposed to be a single dose of Jansenn from the American laboratory Johnson & Johnson will thus be able to receive a 2nd dose.

But politically, the situation would seem to be complicated. Credible sources confirm that this internally leaked circular is not approved in high places. The authorities would have preferred that the application of this third dose of the vaccine be done in a more discreet way. But because of various pressures, and in particular the recurring questions on the need or not of a booster dose of the anti-covid vaccine, the Ministry of Public Health had to consult the National Academy of Medicine of Madagascar (ANAMEM) on January 7th. It is the latter which would have given its recommendations confirming this need.

Following these ANAMEM recommendations, the national technical working group for the introduction of anti-covid 19 vaccines at the Ministry of Health held a meeting last week to decide on their implementation. To do this, a communication was then made to the various regional officials on January 14th. But the Ministry of Public Health specifies that the anti-covid vaccination is not compulsory and is totally up to the choice of each citizen.

In any case, several people testify to having already received their 3rd dose long before through unofficial channels. United Nations personnel are also preparing to receive their 3rd dose.

Studies are continuing to determine how long the protection of vaccines against Covid-19 lasts. According to the WHO, most vaccinated people enjoy strong protection against severe forms and death for at least 6 months. However, this immunity can decline more quickly in some people, especially older people and those with underlying medical conditions. The rate of protective antibodies produced by the body thanks to the vaccine indeed begins to drop about 40 days after the second injection, it remains very high for at least six months according to studies. The need for a booster dose as recommended by ANAMEM is thus confirmed, especially since the vaccines are available in the country.

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Covid-19: additional doses of anti-covid vaccine applied in Madagascar –