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Sadeck Vawda, General Manager: Healthcare practitioners should be involved to encourage vaccination against Covid-19

Sadeck Vawda, General Manager: Healthcare practitioners should be involved to encourage vaccination against Covid-19

Various laboratories have developed Covid-19 vaccines. Did you expect a vaccine to be developed this fast?

I was not expecting that it would be that fast. Drug and vaccine discovery and development normally takes a long time, but the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic prompted scientists to act quickly and mobilise all their energy and resources to make it happen. Many bureaucratic regulatory hurdles which under normal circumstances would delay the processing of new drug applications were also streamlined and this facilitated the fast-track processing and approval of the new vaccines.

How can professionals and individuals differentiate between the various vaccines available?

The practice of medicine is evidence based. As for all new drugs/vaccines, healthcare professionals in their selection of what to recommend, would go for a candidate which has undergone robust clinical trials to show efficacy/safety and which has been approved by major regulatory authorities.

Does the continuing spread of Covid 19 remain a Public Health concern for us in Mauritius?  

The management of the Covid-19 pandemic in Mauritius, it must be said, has been done in the right way. The prompt closing of borders, tests availability, efficient contact tracing, awareness campaigns on social distancing and utilisation of masks have been the cornerstones of the efficient management of the pandemic. As long as COVID-19 is prevailing in other countries and is still declared as a pandemic, it would remain a public health concern.

Mauritius has started its vaccination campaign. What are your views on the local vaccination strategy?

The strategy to start with the front liners is the right one. The next stage is to target elderly people and people with chronic pathologies such as diabetes, heart diseases, asthma, and other respiratory diseases, etc. The uptake is low presently but with the awareness campaign, being done by MOH, and the availability of vaccines in dedicated vaccination centres in public hospitals, in private clinics and other centres, the uptake should increase significantly in the coming weeks or months.

What should be the best way to approach the vaccination subject with people who remain unsure?

Two strategies must be used to increase awareness to ensure that the maximum of people get vaccinated which would be one of the essential tools to achieve herd immunity and end this pandemic worldwide.

First: an awareness campaign for the public through traditional and social media. Secondly, involve healthcare practitioners such as doctors, pharmacists, nurses, etc, to communicate to the patients and the public on the efficacity/safety and importance of vaccination.  The decentralisation of vaccine availability from public sector to private healthcare settings (private hospitals / clinics) would also help in the availability and uptake of vaccines.

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