Following the publication of an interim guidance on vaccination for immunocompromised individuals by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry of Health & Wellness has advised that it will effective immediately implement the recommendation and administer an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccines to Jamaicans, who are classified as immunocompromised according to WHO’s guidance.
The WHO has defined immunocompromised individuals as persons with immunocompromising conditions and those receiving immunosuppressive treatment. These include persons with active cancer, transplant recipients, immunodeficiency, HIV and immunosuppressives.
According to Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, “The recommendation applies to persons who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and are in the vaccine-eligible age group. These persons are required to obtain a letter from their doctor, stating their eligibility and take to the vaccination site. Doctors who treat several of these patients should contact their parish health department to get access to the vaccines to administer to their patients.”
As it relates to timeframe between doses, the WHO recommends that the additional dose should be given at least a month after the second dose of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer and after the single dose, Johnson & Johnson or within three months. Persons who are outside of this time period should get the additional dose as soon as possible.
“An additional vaccination card should be issued detailing the additional dose and be attached to the existing card, if the patient was previously fully vaccinated or in the case where there is space on the existing card, the information should inputted there,” the CMO added.