James Kon & Izah Azahari
Operating hours for the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme at the Indoor Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex Vaccination Centre in Brunei-Muara District have been extended until 8pm starting August 2 to fulfil the Ministry of Health’s target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the country’s population.
Meanwhile, commencing August 9, only AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be administered to individuals who have not yet received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as the remaining supply of Moderna vaccine will go towards those who have received the first dose of the vaccine.
According to Co-Lead Coordinator of the Indoor Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex Vaccination Centre Julita Abdul Fata, the extension of operating hours at the centre is aimed at accommodating those who have difficulty getting out of work during the day to get the jab, giving the public more flexibility with the condition that they have set prior appointments.
The centre is also open for half day on Sundays, said Julita.
The co-lead coordinator also said some special considerations are given to walk-ins, especially senior citizens and special needs individuals. However, she added, appointments are preferable.
“Appointment slots have improved by 1,500 and in one day we are targetting 3,000 people to be vaccinated in the two shifts,” said Julita. “The numbers have been growing now that we can accommodate 3,000 people, and at the moment we’re receiving well past 2,000 people per day.”
The MoH revealed that as of August 4, 177,628 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including 52,919 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, had been successfully administered in Brunei Darussalam.
In addition, 85,449 individuals have been vaccinated with at least one dose of Moderna vaccine.
Based on current usage projections, it is expected that by August 8, nearly 100,000 individuals will have received the Moderna vaccine.
Remaining supplies of Moderna vaccine will therefore only be used for the second dose.
All individuals who have received their first dose of Moderna vaccine will be given the same vaccine brand for their second dose.
The AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered as the default vaccine for individuals aged above 50 years. Individuals aged 18 to 49 who wish to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine may opt-in on a voluntary basis.
Those individuals who currently have an appointment and do not wish to receive AstraZeneca vaccine are advised to cancel their appointment to allow others to reserve appointment slots.
Reassuring the effectiveness of AstraZeneca, the MoH stated that real world evidence from the United Kingdom and Canada demonstrates that AstraZeneca vaccine is extremely effective (over 90 per cent) in preventing both infection and severe disease from the Delta variant, which is now the major circulating variant globally.
Analysis of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) in Brunei Darussalam indicate that all vaccines used in the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme are extremely safe with the majority of side effects being mild and transient in nature, resolving fully after a few days.
“With the spread of the Delta variant worldwide, it is even more important that everyone who is eligible for vaccination receives both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Vaccination remains the most effective and safe way to protect ourselves, and our community from the spread of COVID-19. Both doses of COVID-19 vaccine are required for the complete protection against the Delta variant,” said the MoH in a statement.