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Covid vaccines effective against Delta variant: UAE doctors

Saman Haziq /Dubai
saman@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 13, 2021
Photo: Reuters

Vaccination is the best antidote to safeguard against contracting the infection.


Though the Delta strain is a “variant of concern”, UAE doctors have assured there is no need to panic, as Covid-19 vaccines have been found effective against all strains of SARS-CoV-2, which causes the viral disease.

The Delta strain is more infectious and easily transmissible, which has led to its emergence as a variant of concern.

Vaccination is the best antidote to safeguard against contracting the viral infection, doctors advised.

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Dr Anjali Bantwal, specialist anatomic and clinical pathology at Burjeel Specialty Hospital, Dubai, weighed in on the vaccines available in the UAE.

She said: “According to recent studies conducted in the United Kingdom, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine seems to be 88 per cent effective against the Delta variant two weeks after the second dose. However, as its effectiveness reduces three weeks after the first dose, it is important to get both doses. Studies are underway to validate the efficacy of China's Sinopharm against the Delta variant and the need for booster shots.”

She cited the United States’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to underscore the reasons behind the growing fear factor regarding the virus.

The CDC has stated that the Delta variant is highly contagious, neutralises the antibodies and reduces the effectiveness of diagnostic tests.

“While UAE residents need to be cautious about the Delta variant, there is no need for panic," said Dr Bantwal. "The best way to protect yourself from the Delta variant is to get fully vaccinated at the earliest. To bolster immunity, one must strictly follow protocols such as wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and washing hands frequently.”

Dr Anthony Fauci, an American physician-scientist and immunologist who is the chief medical advisor to the US President Joe Biden, recently said that Covid-19 vaccines that are being used in America to fight the contagion "are working very well" and do protect against the Delta variant.

Earlier this week, Dr Fauci stated that most Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective against the viral outbreak and urged people to get vaccinated at the earliest.

“The vaccine works. It's free. It's safe. It's easy. And it's convenient,” he said.

Vaccines can reduce mortalities

Dr Ravi Arora, internal medicine specialist at NMC Specialty Hospital, Abu Dhabi, advocated mass vaccination in a bid to ensure zero mortality.

“All Covid-19 vaccines in the UAE do work against the Delta variant. Most vaccines have seen a significant reduction in mortality [the primary intent of any vaccine]. As a result, mass vaccination remains a priority in view of increased infectivity of variants,” he said.

For the virus to die its own death, Dr Arora said, its transmission needs to be halted by maintaining social distancing, ensuring sanitisation and hygiene protocols, and pushing for a mass vaccination drive. “This is exactly what all countries are aiming to achieve. The UAE has led by example for the world to follow suit,” he added.

Dr Wasim Kadri, specialist internal medicine at Prime Medical Center, Sharjah, pointed out that vaccination has helped keep the UAE’s viral caseload at bare minimum, despite the country being a home-away-home to over 150 nationalities from across the world.

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“Although the Delta variant is a highly infectious strain and it is fast becoming dominant in most of the countries, the low mortality and the rate of hospitalisation in many countries amongst vaccinated individuals has again proven the need for accelerating vaccination programmes. As per the available data, the UAE is one of the highest vaccinated countries, which reflects in the steadily decreasing number of daily cases,” he said.

He urged the public to sign up for the robust mass vaccination campaign that has been rolled out by the UAE Government.

“All those eligible should take the vaccine as soon as possible. Wear masks and follow the social distancing guidelines to keep yourself, your family and the community safe,” he added.

saman@khaleejtimes.com

Saman Haziq





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