Dr Shalom Tchokfe Ndoula, Permanent Secretary of the Expanded Program of Immunization of Cameroon.
Since the official launch of the Covid-19 vaccination in Cameroon, are the objectives of the campaign being attained?
So far, more than 80,000 doses of vaccines against Covid-19 have been administered. An upward trend in the number of doses administered has been observed over the days. Nowadays, more than 2,000 doses of the vaccine against covid-19 are administered to persons 18 years and above each day. However, a lot still has to be done for us to meet up with the set 20 per cent target of the total population to be vaccinated before the AFCON. We need to urgently improve on the vaccine rollout. There is need to intensify proximity communication at all levels of the community while using major available platforms. Without this, the entire population may not get the right message and this will continue to limit the demand of Covid-19 vaccine by those who need it.
There is a lot of anti-campaign against the Covid-19 vaccine. What has your structure done to ensure that people massively participate in the vaccination exercise especially given that the vaccines could expire?
Vaccines have been made available to all health districts of the country and communication is being intensified to improve vaccine demand using various media. Also, community specific interventions have been adopted and are being implemented through the health districts. These have partly helped increase the number of daily administered doses from less than 1,000 to more than 2,000. A nationwide vaccination campaign is planned for the days ahead. Worthy of note is the fact that, three different batches of vaccines are currently available in the country for which just one batch with over 36,000 doses is expected to expire in close to 2 months, if not used. Hopefully, the measures put in place will enable us consume these vaccines before this deadline.
What should people expect when they get any Covid-19 Vaccine? What about side effects?
Full vaccination will protect us from Covid-19. Very few persons who receive the vaccine may develop transient minor side effects. For instance, for all those vaccinated against Covid-19 in the country, less than 0.3 per cent developed minor flu-like symptoms. Severe side effects are uncommon.
What is the different duration to be respected when receiving Covid-19 vaccine?
There are two main Covid-19 vaccines in the country. Sinopharm and Astrazeneca. After taking the first dose for Sinopharm, the individual waits for an interval of 21 days to take the second dose. For Astrazenecca an interval of 8 to 12 weeks is needed between the first and second dose.
Recent research from France indicates that those who had once had the Coronavirus just need one dose of any vaccine against Covid-19? What do you say about this?