By Latrishka Thomas
One man who said he has been fully vaccinated with the Russian SputnikV vaccine, said that it is safe and effective.
Naturalized citizen of Antigua and Barbuda Nuri Katz told listeners of a Pointe FM radio programme on Saturday that he recently returned to the country from Russia, where he received two doses of SputnikV.
Katz, who was born in the United States but has lived in Antigua for eight years, said that he did not experience any side effects.
“I had absolutely no side effects. I was warned that I might and I had no side effects, no fever. I didn’t feel it when it went it, I didn’t feel it afterwards. I felt absolutely nothing,” Katz shared.
In addition, he spoke to the efficacy of the vaccine saying that tests revealed that he has more antibodies needed to keep him safe from the virus than the amount suggested.
“I got one dose and then three weeks later I got another dose. Just to add to this, I checked my level of antibodies one week after the first dose and as opposed to the Western vaccines, I already had developed antibodies…and then I checked again a week after my second dose and I had five times the recommended safety amount of antibodies,” Katz added.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne chimed in, adding that in a recent meeting with Russian officials, it was disclosed that the vaccine is not only safe and effective, but will last for a long time.
“From all indications, the Sputnik is one of the best vaccines out there. But what was very impressive is the fact that they said this vaccine could last for up to two years. That really surprised me at the time because what is happening now with most of the Western vaccines is that they are now saying that even though you have had the two doses, perhaps 6 months to a year you’d have to have a booster vaccine,” Browne said.
Katz therefore encouraged residents to get their jab of the Russian vaccine.
“Forget the politics, the Sputnik vaccine has served its purpose with me. It’s great; I encourage everybody to take it. It’s an opportunity,” he stated.
On Saturday Antigua and Barbuda received 1,000 SputnikV vaccines the from the Russian Federation, two days after the first batch of 24,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca shots arrived under the COVAX arrangement. The government of India also gifted the country with 40,000 AstraZeneca vaccines in February.
The Prime Minister Browne indicated that the goal is to get enough vaccines to inoculate half of the country by the end of the month.
“We are prepared to give out the full 1,000 next week with an understanding that by the following week or within 14 days we’ll have another 1,000 and if it is that these vaccines go pretty quickly then we will make arrangements to get some commercial volumes of the Sputnik.
“The Chinese government has pledged 20,000 Sinopharm vaccines which should be here perhaps in a couple weeks. So, on the basis we are able to get our people to use the Chinese vaccines as well –which are very efficacious and safe — then we should be in a position to vaccinate atl east half of the population perhaps by the end of this month,” he stated.
The second phase of the Ministry of Health’s public vaccination programme will commence on tomorrow, April 13.
The four vaccination sites under Phase 2 are the Villa Polyclinic, the Glanvilles Polyclinic, the Multipurpose Culture and Exhibition Centre and the Precision Centre in Paynters.
The public vaccination sites will operate on Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.