health

Oct. 5, 2021

LINEO MABEKEBEKE

2 min read

Lesotho readying for Pfizer Covid vaccine

Lesotho readying for Pfizer Covid vaccine

The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

Story highlights

  • Vaccine can be administered to children aged 16 and above
  • Pfizer administered twice and also has minor side effects

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DR ’Makhoase Ranyali, Head of Family Health, under the Expanded Immunisation Programme in the Ministry of Health says the country is expecting another type of COVID-19 vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine, which can be administered to children from the age of 16 and older.

The Pfizer’s vaccine is the first on the market that consists of actual genetic information from a virus in the form of messenger RNA, or mRNA, a type of molecule whose usual job is to transport copies of genetic instructions around a cell to guide the assembly of proteins.

The MIT Technology Review shows that the new vaccine, delivered as a shot in the arm muscle, contains an RNA sequence taken from the virus itself.

It states that the vaccine causes cells to manufacture the big “spike” protein of the coronavirus, which the pathogen uses to glom onto a person’s cells and gain entry.

The journal says on its own, without the rest of the virus, the spike is pretty harmless but the body still reacts to it, which leaves the body immunised and ready to repel the real virus if it turns up.

The Pfizer’s vaccine, Dr Ranyali said needs to be kept at extremely cold temperatures and requires ultra-cold chain, consistent storage at about minus 75 Degrees Celsius.

This, she said during a media briefing on COVID-19 and vaccination progress, which was held on Thursday in Maseru.

“This is the same vaccine which can vaccinate children from the ages of 16 and above,” she said.

She further noted that like the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Pfizer is administered twice, adding that like any other vaccine, it also has minor side effects.

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She said as soon as the Ultra Cold Chain, a low temperature controlled supply chain, to maintain quality via desired low-temperature range logistics and planning is complete, the vaccine will arrive.

Dr Ranyali said the ministry is still expecting another vaccine, the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) from the African Union (AU) as well as another one from the Covax facility.

She said all the AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in the country in March, were able to vaccinate people before they expired.

She said the J&J vaccine which came from America through the Covax facility expires on November 28 while another J&J batch which was bought from the AU expires on December 1.

These vaccines, she said are still being used, adding that a total of 363 047 Basotho have been fully vaccinated with the vaccine.

“The Sinopharm vaccine which expires on June 30 2023 has already vaccinated 700 people who have each received two jabs to date,” she also said.

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