Take booster shot soon – DGHs

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Sri Lanka has recorded five deaths and 119 new Covid cases according to the statistics released on 25 July by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS).

Those with only primary vaccination against Covid-19 should hasten to obtain the booster dose as soon as possible, Acting Director Epidemiology Unit (EU), Dr. Samitha Ginige said.

Addressing the media at the Department of Government Information, Dr. Ginige yesterday (26) said: “Only eight million of the 14.4 million over 20s population have taken the first booster dose of the Covid vaccine.” He pointed out that the Health Ministry rolled out the booster for the over 20s in November 2021. An average of at least six million more were yet to take the first booster dose.

Dr.Ginige said that a second booster dose was recommended for the over 60s and those suffering from comorbidities in May 2022. They were instructed to take the second booster shot three months after the first booster dose. However, those over 20 years of age can take the second booster at any Medical Officer of Health (MoH) office.   

The Acting Epidemiology Chief said that there were a notable number of schoolchildren, between 12 and 19 years of age, who had not taken the first and second dose of the Covid vaccine. He urged them to obtain the shots from any MoH office as early as possible. With school education in such disarray for a period of three years, it is best if children and parents take precautionary measures by ensuring that schools don’t have to be closed again due to the spread of corona among schoolchildren, he cautioned.

The primary doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered during the months of August, September and October last year. Some 120 per cent of the target population obtained the primary doses of the Covid vaccine helping the country to face the Omicron variant of the coronavirus when it was detected in the island this year.

But with the growing number infected with the virus’ lineage it is necessary to ensure that the public hurry up and take the booster shots of the vaccine as the immunity given by the first two doses would have decreased by this time.

He noted that Sri Lanka had been able to control the pandemic, so that till about the beginning of July only 10-12 cases, the most were diagnosed with the viral infection while its death toll was nil on some days.

However, the last 10 days have shown an influx in the number of cases being diagnosed with numbers varying between 50 and 60. This situation would lead to an increase in the death toll and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, he warned. The most vulnerable groups are the over 60s population, those suffering from comorbidity and pregnant mothers.    

By Dilanthi Jayamanne