English | Dzongkha Friday, July 30, 2021

Got the second jab? It’s not yet time to let guard down: NI-TAG

Jul 22, 2021

Finally getting the second dose of the COVID vaccine may feel like a relief. But it is not an excuse to let guards down yet. There are already signs of complacency and carelessness amongst the population after the second jab. But health experts warn that a person does not have full immunity right away after the dose. It takes the immune system at least two weeks to build up protection against the virus. People will have to continue adhering to safety measures to stop the spread of the virus.

A member of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NI-TAG) said safety measures are still important as ever as risks still remain even after a person is vaccinated.

“For immunity to develop whether it be an infection or through vaccination, people will at least take an average of two weeks to develop a so-called adequate response. Even after we get the second jab, we should still continue following the safety protocols like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing and then hand washing. That is important because still there is an infection going on in the southern districts. Just now it’s too early for us to relax all those safety protocols we have been following,” said Dr Sonam Wangchuk, a member of NI-TAG.

According to international medical experts, it is possible that someone who is vaccinated could have very mild symptoms or potentially no symptoms at all and still pass the virus to someone else. But those who are vaccinated are less likely to be hospitalised.

“Vaccination is the only intervention. The transmission will keep on happening but the important thing is if there is an outbreak of a new variant, non-vaccinated people are likely to see a lot of hospitalisation and severity and death,” added Dr Sonam Wangchuk.

According to the health ministry’s data, from over 1,200 local cases detected since April in the country, more than 75 per cent occurred in vaccinated individuals.

There was only one fatality, where an 82-year-old unvaccinated woman with numerous underlying medical conditions succumbed to the virus.

The health ministry said the very low mortality and serious cases could be because of the protective effect of the first dose.

Sonam Pem

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