A local doctor warned that people must take their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine when it is due.
“You don’t want to have subpar antibody levels going around because it’s that type of less-than-ideal response that can allow variants to occur,” cautioned Dr Sharon Cordner, an Internal Medicine Specialist at Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC).
Variants are not uncommon and are formed when a virus mutates as it creates imperfect copies of itself in a host.
A variant that behaves differently from the parent virus is called a strain, and strains like the UK variant are believed to be more transmissible than other forms of the virus that causes COVID-19.
In explaining the importance of the booster shot on Point FM recently, Dr Cordner said, “when your body gets the virus, you want to be able to hit it and hit it hard.”
She said, “You’re hitting a six straight out of the boundary, right away. You’re not wasting time with a weak response. So, ideally, we really should be looking for that second vaccine and not resting on our laurels, saying that one is better than none.”
“Two really is the deal here, and time will tell whether or not we would need further boosters, maybe a year later or along the way”, Dr Cordner said.
The doctor explained the exception is “if you’ve had COVID virus infection already, then your first vaccination will act as your second vaccination because that would be your second exposure to the virus with the natural infection being the first.”
“Also, you would want to wait a few months after the actual infection to get the second vaccine because you don’t want to get it too soon. You would not need to get it too soon because your body will have a natural immunity to the virus anyway,” she explained.
Dr Cordner said for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is currently being administered in Antigua & Barbuda, “you would need to have your second booster, ideally, now, 12 weeks after the first one to ensure that having been primed with the first vaccine, first dose of the vaccine, that your body continues to recognize and mount an even better response that will continue to potentiate its effects.”
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