Man gets wrong second Covid-19 vaccine

25 August 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK

The health ministry is investigating how a 30-year-old man was given the wrong vaccine at a vaccination station at the Engela Distict Hospital last month.

The incident occurred at a time when health authorities still caution that mixed jabs are a no-go area for Namibia.

According to grievance documents submitted to health authorities, Jason Josua from Onhuno received his first dose of AstraZeneca at Ongwediva Medipark on 13 May. His second dose was due on 11 July.

Josua said he went to get his second jab of AstraZeneca vaccine at the Engela District Hospital on 13 July because Ongwediva Medipark did not have any vaccine at the time.

Everything was running smoothly and he went through all pre-vaccination screening procedures. He got the shock of his life after the nurse gave him the second shot.

It turns out that, instead of receiving the same AstraZeneca vaccine dose as before, as per national coronavirus vaccination guidelines, the he was given Sinopharm.

“After the injection, I remained on the seat waiting for the card to be stamped and thereafter I saw on the box where the vaccine was taken from was written Sinopharm.

“I checked on the other side is a box written AstraZeneca. I immediately asked the nurse if they had given me the wrong vaccine and to their surprise, they confirmed they had.

“The nurse seemed not to have read the documents I handed to her,” he said in a complaint letter written to the health ministry.

Josua said he was subsequently kept for some time for monitoring but ultimately nobody knew how to deal with him afterwards, or whether he should finish his AstraZeneca course.

He told Namibian Sun yesterday that he has not experienced any side effects as a result of the mix-up.

“What is worrying is that the ministry seems not to be taking situations like these seriously and are less mindful of the health of the people they claim to care about.

“This also makes one wonder why the ministry cannot monitor these kinds of incidents and do a proper monitoring to get a proven study whether the two vaccines could be mixed,” he said.

He also claimed that his blood pressure shot up from 135/85 to 155/90 after getting the second dose.

“They said it could have been caused by the shocking news of getting the wrong vaccine,” he quipped.

The medical team, he said, subsequently scratched out the Sinopharm name on the vaccine card but he insisted they issue another card to him, clearly indicating that he did indeed receive Sinopharm as a second dose instead of AstraZeneca.

“I have chosen AstraZeneca and being injected with Sinopharm is a total violation of my health and one could just hope for the best this does not bring harm to my health as the two are not proven to be mixed nor is the mixed dose allowed to be administered in Namibia or anywhere in the world as far as I know,” he lamented.

Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe confirmed that the matter was reported to his office and that they were investigating it.

Vaccine variations

The Sinopharm vaccine is an inactivated virus that works by teaching the immune system to make antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 beta coronavirus.

The AstraZeneca vaccine contains the gene that encodes for the spike protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

According to health experts, mixing some Covid-19 vaccines could be safe, generating a strong immune response, however, this may not be true for all World Health Organisation (WHO) approved vaccines.

New studies from several countries have shown that administrating the AstraZeneca vaccine as a first dose and the Pfizer vaccine as a second dose can produce a strong immune response. However, this combination can also cause more short-term side effects after the second dose.

China, which produces Sinopharm, recently announced a mixed-vaccine trial given the high rate at which the Delta variant is spreading and concerns that existing vaccines may not be effective enough.

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