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Covid-19 in UAE: Refusing vaccine makes you part of danger

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on April 21, 2021
Reuters

Medics have reiterated the reminder, supporting the country’s stance against naysayers.


People who refuse the vaccine are not only increasing their risk of contracting the Covid virus — they could also be ‘prolonging’ the pandemic, UAE doctors have warned.

Medics have reiterated the reminder, supporting the country’s stance against naysayers. On Tuesday, a top official said the UAE is now considering the possibility of imposing movement restrictions on residents who have not taken the jab despite being eligible to do so.

Dr Bassem Abdelmonem, emergency medicine specialist at Prime Hospital, said there needs to be a sufficient number of people with antibodies against the coronavirus to prevent it from mutating into strains that could be more lethal.

“Those who are refusing to get a Covid-19 vaccine are increasing their risk of contracting and transmitting the virus. They could also be potentially prolonging the pandemic, contributing to spikes in cases and giving the virus more opportunities to mutate,” Dr Abdelmonem said.

“Eligible people who do not get vaccinated not only put themselves at risk — which they argue is their choice — but they also end up endangering children and those who are not suitable for the vaccine because of medical reasons.”

Significant outbreaks linked to under-vaccinated communities have already emerged in many countries.

Dr Osama Ahmed El Gharib, medical director at Burjeel Specialty Hospital, Sharjah, said: “The real danger is that, sometimes, in the first five to seven days, the patient could develop Covid-19 but they may be unaware of it while it continues to be infectious.”

The concerns of these individuals who have low confidence in vaccines should be addressed with patience and conviction, the medics added.

Dr Ramanathan Venkiteswaran, group medical director of Aster and Medcare Hospitals and Clinics, UAE, said unvaccinated individuals can spread Covid in two ways.

“First, they have a greater chance of getting infected and therefore spreading the infection. Second, ‘herd immunity’, which prevents the spread of the infection within the community, becomes effective when approximately 70 per cent individuals gain immunity either through vaccination or natural infection. This percentage would change depending on the infection rate of the Covid virus and the way people interact with each other. Vaccination plays a key role in increasing ‘herd immunity’. Therefore, it is extremely important that we encourage all residents to get vaccinated, while maintaining masks, handwashing, social distancing and avoiding clustering.”

The only people who are NOT eligible for the vaccine:

>> Children under the age of 16 (though this may still change as the coverage may be expanded later on after studies)

>> Pregnant women

>> Participants of the Phase III vaccine clinical trial

>> People with certain conditions (depending on medical evaluation by their physicians)

>> Those with severe allergic reactions or a diagnosed allergy to any component of the vaccine

- Dr Sulaiman Ahmed, General Practitioner, Access Clinic Al Quoz

nandini@khaleejtimes.com





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