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Additional Primary Dose of a COVID-19 Vaccine

Overview and Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that certain categories of persons should receive an additional primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. NB This is different to a booster dose.

WHY

We continue to gather information and learn more about the COVID-19 virus over time. While the COVID-19 vaccines are proven to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent serious illness and death from the virus, research has shown that some groups of persons need an additional dose of the vaccine for their bodies to develop the desired level of protection.

Thus, an additional primary dose of a vaccine will be given to enhance the immune response of individuals in certain groups ( i.e. the moderately to severely immunocompromised and those aged 60 and over who received the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine). As such, it now forms part of the World Health Organization primary series for these groups.

WHO

The World Health Organization recommends that the following groups of persons should get an additional primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. Persons aged 60 and over who received 2 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
  • All Moderately to Severely immunocompromised persons, of any age, who received the required does of any COVID-19 vaccine.

Which persons are considered Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised?

People who are immunocompromised have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases.

Review the table below and ask your doctor if you fit into the Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised category.

GroupDetails
Active Cancer • Active immunosuppressive treatment for solid tumour or haematological malignancy (including leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma), or within 12 months of ending such treatment
Transplant recipients• Receipt of solid organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
• Receipt of stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation, or taking immunosuppressive therapy)
Immunodeficiency• Severe primary immunodeficiency • Chronic dialysis
HIV• HIV with a current CD4 cell count of <200 cells/μl, evidence of an opportunistic infection, not on HIV treatment, and/or with a detectable viral load (i.e. advanced HIV disease)
Immunosuppressives• Active treatment causing significant immunosuppression, including high-dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents, tumour-necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, or other highly immunosuppressive drugs
• Immunosuppressive chemotherapy or radiotherapy within the past 6 months

Can I get an additional dose if I don’t fit the criteria?

At this time additional primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are only recommended for persons who fit into the recommended groups.

WHEN

Additional Primary Doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine were made available from November 10, 2021

  1. Persons aged 60 and over who received 2 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine should get the additional dose 3 to 6 months after final dose of the vaccine or soonest thereafter.
  • Moderately and Severely immunocompromised persons of any age who received the required does of any COVID-19 vaccine should get the additional dose 1 to 3 months after final dose of the vaccine or soonest thereafter.

WHERE

Additional primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available at the following locations:

  • Johnson & Johnson and Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines- All Health Centres
  • AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Sinopharm – All Mass Vaccination Sites
  • Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Sinopharm – All Drive-thru Vaccination Sites

HOW

  1. Persons aged 60 and over who received 2 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
    1. The relevant RHA will call you to schedule your vaccination location and time.
    1. Go to the relevant vaccination site on the date and time given.
      1. You must take your vaccination card and a valid form of identification with you
  • Moderately and Severely immunocompromised persons of any age who received the required does of any COVID-19 vaccine:
  • Speak with your doctor to determine if you qualify for an additional primary dose
  • Get a referral letter
  • Visit the relevant vaccination location based on the type of COVID-19 vaccine that you require.
    • You must take your vaccination card, a valid form of identification and your referral letter

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Do I need to take the additional primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated?

At this time, the additional Primary Dose does not affect your vaccination status (e.g. for entry into TT Safe Zone areas or for entry into Trinidad and Tobago).

Thus, those who previously fit into the category of fully vaccinated before the introduction of the additional primary dose will still be considered fully vaccinated and visa versa.

The public will be advised if this changes.

I am over 60 years of age and I got 2 doses of the the AstraZeneca/ Pfizer OR 1 dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Do I need another dose?

Not at this time. Not all persons who are 60 years of age or older need another dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.

The following groups of persons are advised to get an additional primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at this time:

  1. Persons aged 60 and over who received 2 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
  • All Moderately to Severely immunocompromised persons, of any age, who received the required does of any COVID-19 vaccine.

I have a ‘co-morbidity’ (e.g. High blood pressure, High Blood Sugar). Do I need another dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Being diabetic (high blood sugar) or hypertensive (high blood pressure), obese or having a heart condition or kidney disease does not automatically mean that you need another dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The following groups of persons are advised to get an additional primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at this time:

  1. Persons aged 60 and over who received 2 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
  • All Moderately to Severely immunocompromised persons, of any age, who received the required does of any COVID-19 vaccine.

Speak with your physician to determine if you need an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

I am fully vaccinated but I am a Cancer survivor. Do I need another dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Not all immunocompromised persons need to get another dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The recommendation focuses on those who are Moderately to Severely immunocompromised.

The following groups of persons are advised to get an additional primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at this time:

  1. Persons aged 60 and over who received 2 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
  • All Moderately to Severely immunocompromised persons, of any age, who received the required does of any COVID-19 vaccine.

Speak with your physician to determine if you need an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

More Details:

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