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Covid vaccine: Dubai expands eligibility criteria for Pfizer jab

Web report/Dubai
Filed on April 17, 2021 | Last updated on April 17, 2021 at 11.30 pm
Photo: Wam

Former Covid patients no longer need to wait three months to get the vaccine.


Women who are breastfeeding as well as those who are planning to conceive can take the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has announced.

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Furthermore, patients who had Covid-19 no longer need to wait for three months to get the vaccine. They can take it on completion of their isolation, provided the infection was mild or non-symptomatic.

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The move, announced on Saturday, comes as part of the expansion of the eligibility criteria for Covid-19 vaccination.

Dr Farida Al Khaja, CEO of DHA’s Clinical Support Services and Nursing Sector and Chairperson of the Covid-19 Vaccination Steering Committee, said the decision taken by the committee after due consideration is aligned with international guidelines.

“Any patient who had an active Covid-19 infection must wait until the completion of the isolation period to be vaccinated. If the infection was moderate or severe and required hospitalisation, the timeframe for vaccination after infection will depend on the decision of the medical team that treated the patient. However, all mild cases or cases without symptoms can take the vaccine after completing the isolation period,” said Al Khaja.

Recently, the DHA also reduced the minimum age for some of the available vaccines to 16 years instead of 18 years.

The DHA has now extended eligibility for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, an mRNA vaccine, to women who are breastfeeding or planning to conceive, in line with the latest international studies and guidelines.

Dr Muna Tahlak, CEO of Latifa Hospital for Women and Children, said: “Clinical studies show that the mRNA vaccine is safe for women who are breastfeeding or planning to conceive unless the patient has certain medical contraindications to vaccines or any vaccine component. Mothers who are breastfeeding can now take an mRNA vaccine as per the latest DHA vaccine guidelines. There is no need to stop breastfeeding before or after vaccination.”

It is important to understand that Covid-19 vaccines are able to create an immune response without causing the illness and that they do not contain a live virus, said Dr Tahlak.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard have found that mRNA Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective in producing antibodies against the coronavirus in pregnant and lactating women.

The study also demonstrated that vaccines provide protective immunity to newborns through breast milk and the placenta. The study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG).

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Dr Tahlak further said mRNA vaccination is recommended for women who are actively trying to conceive or contemplating pregnancy. “It is not necessary to delay planning a pregnancy until after completing both doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, a routine pregnancy test is not recommended prior to receiving the vaccine.”

Dubai aims to vaccinate 100 per cent of the eligible adult population in the emirate by the end of 2021.





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