UAE: Covid vaccination drive linked to dip in ICU admissions of elderly

Abu Dhabi - Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness.


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 29 May 2021, 6:11 PM

Last updated: Sat 29 May 2021, 9:25 PM

The national vaccination programme has led to a steep decline in the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations in the elderly and people suffering from chronic illness, medical experts said.

The UAE has been offering vaccine shots to the vulnerable groups on a priority basis. And as per the latest official data, nearly 85 per cent of individuals aged 60 years and above have been vaccinated so far. Medical experts noted the massive vaccination drive is showing results in the past few months through lower hospital admissions.

Dr Sunil Vyas, Pulmonology (Specialist), Aster Hospital, Qusais, reported a major decline in hospitalisation of elderly with Covid-19 infection.

“Post-vaccination, even if they have been infected, their symptoms have been mild. They didn’t require hospitalisation nor oxygen therapy. Also, the share of the elderly in total deaths has begun to decline after the vaccinations began. Vaccination and abiding by the protocols put forward, wearing masks, avoiding attending events or gatherings has brought down the cases.”

Dr Vyas revealed there has been more than 60 per cent drop in the admissions of elderly Covid-19 patients. And the number has remained consistent over the past months.

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“We had a total of 3 patients above the age of 60 years in the month of May compared with 8 to 13 cases in the month of January and February. The number of patients above 60 years of age started falling from the month of March. There have been only 3 cases in the month of March and April too.”

Dr Prasanna Kumar, critical care specialist and ICU in-charge, Medeor Hospital, Dubai, pointed out a sharp fall in hospital and ICU admissions after the vaccination drive.

“After the last peak hit in January, the total number of cases are on a steady decline. Severe Covid cases requiring ICU care have significantly decreased. This is true for all age groups. This is reflected in the ICU admission rates. All the recent Covid patients are recovering with minimal support. During the peak in January, older patients required prolonged ICU care. Now we are hardly getting any such patients requiring prolonged care.”

Moreover, hospitals have seen enthusiastic participation from the elderly in the vaccination drive, a factor leading to a dip in the fresh caseloads and prolonged medical care, if at all, said Dr Rajesh Kumar Gupta, specialist internal medicine at Burjeel Specialty Hospital, Sharjah.

“We are witnessing a significant fall in the number of Covid patients, especially those requiring critical care. Our early group – the most vulnerable category – does not require long-time treatment, in most cases. The ICU, once filled with such age categories, is now seeing lower caseloads. I would attribute this change to the efficacy of the vaccination.”

On Saturday, 110,605 vaccine doses were given in the last 24 hours to reach a total of 12.75 million at a distribution rate of 128.98 doses per 100 people.

Dr Muhammed Ayoob, specialist pulmonary disease, NMC Speciality Hospital, Abu Dhabi, highlighted the importance of vaccination in developing immunity, which reduces risk of infection.

“This is particularly important to protect people at increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19, such as healthcare providers, older or elderly adults, and people with other medical conditions. Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes Covid-19. So, we need to encourage everyone who is offered or has access to the vaccine to get it as soon as possible.”

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