UAE Covid vaccine: Dos and don'ts after taking your first jab

Photo: Shihab
Photo: Shihab

Dubai - Medical experts have strictly instructed jab takers not to skip their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sun 24 Jan 2021, 10:01 PM

Last updated: Mon 25 Jan 2021, 12:02 PM

Got your first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine? Doctors have dished out some pointers you have to keep in mind, and the most important of which is: Do not forget your second vaccination.

Medical experts have strictly instructed jab takers not to skip their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“The second dose is more important than the first one as this is what will stay in the body as memory-T cells, Helper-T cells and matured B-cells to ward off the infection later on,” said Dr Ravi Arora, specialist in internal medicine, endocrinology and diabetes at NMC Speciality Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity or protection against the virus that causes Covid-19 after vaccination. This explains why there could be cases where a person who had taken the shot gets infected, experts said.

Specialist Dr Amaka Kate Uzu said that initially, the first dose of the vaccine would trigger the body’s immunity and help it recognise the virus when it enters.

“This process typically takes a few weeks after the first dose of the vaccine, while taking the second dose further increase your level of immunity and sustains it for longer,” said Dr Uzu, family medicine consultant at Bareen International Hospital at MBZ City, Abu Dhabi.

Dr Nayzak Raoof, medical director at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery, noted that the response of the body’s immune system to a vaccine is ‘fairly complicated’.

“In very simple words, the first dose of the vaccine stimulates the B cells (a certain type of the white blood cells) to manufacture circulating antibodies, these antibodies are considered the first line of defence and are short-living.”

He added: “The second booster dose initiates a second type of immunity, which is the longer-lasting immunity and is cellular immunity. It is difficult to translate that into figures or percentages in regard to the Covid-19 vaccine which is newly introduced.”

The doctor then explained the protection levels by citing the existing MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) as an example. After the first MMR shot, he said a patient develops around 60 per cent protection, compared to over 95 per cent after the second dose.

Dr Prashant CK, a specialist physician at Aster Clinic in Ajman, explained: “During the activation of the immune system, some persons can experience symptoms similar to a viral infection such as fever, body aches, abnormal sensations which is a sign of the body building up its defences.”

Eating healthy helps body build immunity after vaccination

Studies have found that increased fruit and vegetable intake has been associated with a better antibody response following vaccination, said Dr Prashant CK, a physician at Aster Clinic in Ajman.

“Adequate and appropriate nutrition is required for optimal performance of all cells in the body, and this include the cells of the immune system.”

Dr Raoof added: “In general, smoking and alcohol consumption decrease a person’s immunity. There is no doubt that smoking in relation to respiratory diseases has a horrendous impact on both chronic and acute respiratory illnesses.”


Dr Sandeep Pargi, a specialist in respiratory medicine at Aster Hospital in Mankhool, has provided a basic list of dos and don’ts after taking the first dose.

> Do not rub the vaccinated area on the arm.

> Observe for symptoms like fever, body pains, rash and breathing difficulty

> The pain at the site of vaccination and some body aches usually subside. But if symptoms are severe and breathing difficulty is experienced, then seeing a doctor is a must.

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