A number of questions are being raised about anti-coronavirus vaccination. Here is some useful information on frequently asked questions to give you a clearer idea.
A free nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign was launched in Mauritius on 26 January 2021. By the third week of March, 100,000 people had already received a first dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford (Covishield) vaccine. A second dose will be given after 12 weeks to boost the immune response.
According to Government predictions, herd immunity of at least 60% of the population must be achieved to stop the epidemic in the country. Official sources are aiming to reach this target by late June.
The Seychelles have announced the reopening of their borders from 25 March, after having vaccinated 70% of the archipelago’s population. Other territories such as Gibraltar and Israel have also reached the herd immunity threshold.
Vaccination remains a personal choice for each individual, but it is also critical to protect our families, our friends, our loved ones and the entire population. It is also key to our hopes of returning to normal life and economic recovery in the near future, knowing that our country is not strong enough to remain cut off from the rest of the world for a prolonged period of time. Moreover, recent events have shown that even border closure doesn’t ensure 100% protection.
Out of fear of side effects or lack of information, a number of people are still hesitant about getting vaccinated. Here is some useful information from reliable sources:
Why take the COVID-19 vaccine?
Studies to date indicate that vaccination significantly reduces the risk of severe morbidity and mortality due to the coronavirus. Combined with preventive measures, the vaccine is highly effective in protecting against infection and helps control the long-term impact of the epidemic. Getting vaccinated will protect you against the disease and help in the national solidarity effort to fight COVID-19. For more information, visit the World Health Organisation official website.
Which vaccines are used in Mauritius?
The first vaccine to be used was ADZ1222 (Covishield), developed by the University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca. The National COVID-19 Vaccination Committee has also given its nod to India’s Covaxin, produced by Bharat Biotech Ltd. Mauritius has received from the Indian Government some 200,000 doses, which are already in use in vaccination centres since Monday 22 March.
Who can get vaccinated now?
According to a list published on the Economic Development Board website, the following categories of people should get vaccinated during the lockdown period:
- all Work Access Permit (WAP) holders and exempt persons not registered with industry associations;
- businesses registered with SME Mauritius and engaged in essential services;
- general retailers and grocery stores;
- planters and vegetable growers;
- animal breeders;
- meat, fish and poultry shops and cold storages;
- taxi drivers;
- bus drivers and conductors;
- drivers engaged in distribution channels;
- fishermen; and
- other operators who are in contact with the general public.
According to the World Health Organisation, while vaccine supplies are limited, it is recommended that priority be given to health workers at high risk of exposure and older people, including those aged 65 or older. Vaccination is also recommended for persons with comorbidities that have been identified as increasing the risk of severe COVID-19.
Where can people get vaccinated?
Since 15 March 2021, 20 vaccination centres are available across the island, including 14 public and 6 private facilities. The vaccine is free of charge and the service fee charged by private centres is generally paid by the employer. See the complete list below:
Public vaccination centres
- Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre, Pailles
- Taher Bagh Hall, Port Louis
- MFD Conference Centre, Freeport, Mer Rouge
- Anjalay Stadium, Mapou
- Rivière du Rempart Youth Centre
- Lycée Polytechnique, Flacq
- Côte d’Or National Sports Complex
- Hua Lien Centre, Quatre Bornes
- Rivière des Anguilles Village Hall
- SSR International Airport
- James Burty David Gymnasium, Curepipe
- Pandit Sahadeo Sports Complex, Vacoas
- Plaza, Rose Hill
- Germain Comarmond Stadium, Bambous
- Clinique Darné
- Wellkin Hospital
- C-Care La Croisette
- C-Care Cap Tamarin
- City Clinic, Grand Bay
- City Clinic, Port-Louis
What is herd immunity?
According to the French magazine Science & Vie, herd immunity is the threshold at which an infectious agent is no longer likely to continue to spread widely because a percentage of the population has become immune to that disease. When the spread rate reduces to below 1 on average per infected person and a majority of people have already developed the necessary antibodies to protect themselves, the virus begins to die out.
If in doubt or for more information, the websites of official bodies like the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency remain the most credible sources.
Whether you choose to take the vaccine or not, please keep in mind that compliance with preventive measures and health recommendations is essential to limit the spread of the virus!