MHMS corrects news Headline: “Second vax dose has minimal effect”

The Ministry of Health would like to correct news headline this week that states “Second vax dose has minimal effect”.  The statement is NOT CORRECT.  The correct headline should read “Second vac dose has minimal side effects” meaning that people experience less side effects with the second vaccine dose than they did with the first.  With the current vaccines being used, the second dose is very important to achieve full protection against the virus and is therefore necessary for the vaccine to have its proper effect.

Therefore, the ministry request media to ensure news headlines or titles are properly assessed in terms of meaning before used. While short and catchy headlines attract readers, they often carry mixed messages, not until the reader completely reads the news article that the headlines eventually makes sense and interpreted in their right context. 

With print media, however there are readers who tend to only glance through which means they only read the news headlines of news stories and move on to the next, let alone those with low levels of literacy. 

With the current COVID-19 vaccination role out, the Ministry of Health together with partners are continuously monitoring and assessing COVID-19 vaccine related news articles including headlines to ensure that right messages are disseminated to the public. With the current levels of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, the Ministry of Health is not taking any chances to headlines and articles that may send the wrong message. 

Therefore the headline, Second vax dose has minimal effect, was noted to present the possibility that readers more especially the glance through readers may interpret it differently. Thus the response to correct the headline to “Second vac dose has minimal side effects”, which makes it easier for readers to quickly refer to the side effects and not the effectiveness of the vaccine. This is the intention of the article’s message including that of Dr Yogesh Choudhri who was quoted in the article.

This is a fact proven by scientific evidence therefore people who have decided not to get their 2nd dose due to fear of reoccurrence of the side effects following their first dose should not worry. 

Public must be reminded that many around the world whom have died from COVID-19 include those who received their 1st dose but not the second. The second dose of COVID-19 vaccine is ESSENTIAL to boost your level of protection against COVID-19 thereby preventing you from falling severely ill, being hospitalized and to die from COVID-19. 

To date total of 540 reports of side effects of COVID-19 vaccines have been received in Solomon Islands and these  mainly include headache, sweating, nausea, muscle pain joint pain, and pain at the injection site which are all expected and should subside in a day or two. 4 cases of being hospitalized after vaccination was recorded however following investigations. These were assessed to have not been caused by the vaccine except one case of anaphylaxis (very rare occurrence). The case was treated by on sight doctors and the patient recovered the same day.  

So if you are one of those who is yet to get your 2nd jab, please come forward and get your 2nd and final jab done.

For AstraZeneca your can get your 2nd dose either 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after the date mentioned on their card. For Sinopharm, the minimum interval between 1st and 2nd dose should be at least 3 weeks. If you have gone beyond these time limits, please make every effort to still come and get yourself fully vaccinated.