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Coronavirus: Ministry cuts time for second AZ dose to eight weeks

file photo: vials labelled "astra zeneca covid 19 coronavirus vaccine" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed astrazeneca logo in this illustration photo

The period elapsing between the two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be reduced from 12 to eight weeks, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.

The decision goes into effect immediately and vaccination centres have been informed so that they can arrange second doses for eight weeks after the first dose.

For those who received their first AstraZeneca vaccine dose before April 25, the ministry has issued the following guidance:

For first doses dating back zero to nine weeks, the ministry will be in touch to arrange a second dose appointment on the eighth week.

For first doses dating back 10 to 12 weeks, the second dose will be administered as normal at 12 weeks.

The ministry reiterated that the vaccination programme is continuing with all available vaccines to speed up the process and get closer to the goal of herd immunity.

According to the data, 84 per cent of those aged 80 and older, and 80 per cent of those aged 79-80 have been vaccinated, which has significantly reduced hospitalisations for these ages.

Currently, those aged 45 and over are receiving their first doses and appointments are opening for the 39-44 age group.

One of the reasons cited for hesitancy surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine was the long gap between the two doses which today’s announcement aims to partly address.

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