Covid vaccine UAE: Coronavirus threat still looms, doctors warn ahead of NYE

Dubai - 'We still have a long way to go before we can create herd immunity'.



Published: Mon 28 Dec 2020, 5:01 PM

Last updated: Tue 29 Dec 2020, 6:58 AM

While the roll-out of two Covid-19 vaccines is bringing the UAE closer to winning the war on the virus, medics have warned that this is no reason to party this New Year’s Eve. Do not drop your guard, they warned, because people remain at risk of contracting Covid-19 — even if some have already taken a jab.

Though the jab can be viewed as the 'bright light' at the end of a tunnel, doctors reiterated that “we still have a long way to go before we can create herd immunity”.

Also read: Follow these Dubai NYE rules of face Dh50,000 fine

Dr Adel Mohammed Yasin Alsisi, chief medical officer and intensive care consultant at Prime Hospital, explained that “herd immunity comes from immunised patients, people who have either recovered from infections before or are vaccinated.vIf 60 to 70 per cent of the community is immunised, by either being previously infected or vaccinated, then this community transmission will reduce significantly and all will be in good health.

“Until such time, please respect the precautionary measures even if you are vaccinated and until six months or maximum up to a period of one year, until herd immunity is developed by most of the people.”

Doctors are urging everyone to be responsible and not to put themselves, their families, friends, and neighbours at risk during the year-end celebrations. Though the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Sinopharm vaccination drive has already started, the public should remember that majority are yet to receive a jab, medics said. And those who received their first dose of the vaccine do not have full protection yet.

Dr Sandeep Pargi, pulmonary medicine specialist at Aster Hospital, Mankhool, said: “The vaccine is given in two doses in a gap of three weeks and, still, it can take up to a month to develop antibodies. Antibodies production depends on multiple factors like age, health status, certain medications and some other old infections.”

Explaining it further, Dr Ahmed Hassan, internal medicine specialist at Prime Medical Centre Jumeirah Branch, said: “Our bodies will not be fully immunised before receiving the second dose of the vaccine, so the whole process takes about one month for one to become fully immunised.”

Taking all these factors into consideration, specialists advise that all Covid-19 precautions be strictly followed.

Dr Titty Mary Thomas, family medicine specialist at Aster Clinic, JLT, said: “Though vaccines have now been made available to the masses and restrictions are slowly being eased, health authorities of the UAE and the World Health Organisation still advise the general population and residents to take precautions in terms of using masks, sanitisers, social distancing and avoiding crowded areas.”

This is also important, they said, in sustaining the positive developments that the UAE has been recording in its fight against Covid-19. On Sunday, the UAE witnessed a dip in its daily virus tally, with the number  of cases dropping below the 1,000 mark for the first time in over two months. The country recorded 944 cases on December 27 but hit 1,027 on Monday.

Dr Abner Rivas Abejo, internal medicine specialist at Medeor Hospital, Dubai, said: “Residents should be careful while celebrating this New Year. People can still get infected by the virus. Hence, we shouldn’t let our guards down and think that the pandemic is over.”

nandini@khaleejtimes.com

Photo: Wam
Photo: Wam

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