Only a ‘tiny’ percentage of Dubai residents are hesitant to take the Covid-19 vaccine, a top health official told Khaleej Times.
Earlier this week, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) revealed that about 20 per cent of the emirate’s eligible population are yet to take the vaccine. But out of this percentage, many have pre-existing health issues, Dr Hanan Al Suwaidi, chair of testing and vaccination at the Covid-19 Command and Control Centre, explained to KT.
More than 2.3 million people in Dubai have so far been vaccinated, six months after the UAE launched the national vaccination programme, according to the DHA.
“At least 83 per cent of target groups and eligible residents have received the first dose, and 64 per cent have taken both doses. However, only 20 per cent of the eligible residents are yet to take the vaccine,” Dr Alawi Al Sheikh Ali, deputy director-general of the DHA, had said earlier.
Dr Al Suwaidi clarified that among those yet to take the jab, some are already in the process of getting the vaccine. “A segment of members understand the importance of the vaccine but have not booked their appointment yet.”
She added: “Then there are those who have health issues and are consulting with their treating physician, but a tiny percentage are hesitant to take the vaccine.”
At the current rate of vaccination, Dubai is ‘well on track’ to meet its target of inoculating 100 per cent of eligible residents by the end of this year, according to Dr Farida Al Khaja, chairperson of the Covid-19 Vaccination Steering Committee and CEO of DHA’s clinical support services and nursing sector.
“We use the term eligible, as there will always be community members who cannot take the vaccine as they fall below the age limit or they have certain medical conditions,” Dr Al Khaja said.
Vaccines significantly reduce one’s the risk of getting Covid-19. In fact, based on the recent data that the DHA revealed, eight in 10 people who tested positive for Covid-19 were unvaccinated, and nine out of 10 of those admitted in ICUs were also unvaccinated.
“These statistics reinforce the importance of being fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your loved ones against Covid-19,” said Dr Al Suwaidi.
“If a vaccinated person gets the coronavirus, the likelihood of getting seriously ill is much lesser as compared to a person who has not taken the vaccine.”
She urged those with pre-existing health conditions to get the jab.
“People who have health conditions that can cause them to be severely ill if they get Covid-19 should consult their physician and get vaccinated. Their caregivers and family members should also take the Covid-19 vaccine. There are very few exceptions to prevent people from taking the vaccine,” said Dr Al Suwaidi.
Do not delay your second dose
The DHA reminded the community to take their second vaccine dose on time.
“Community members must understand that to build immunity, both doses are necessary. Therefore, it is best to ensure that the second (booster) dose is taken on time and not delayed to build a stronger immune response,” Dr Suwaidi said.
“Until you get that second dose, you remain at risk. If you were to miss your second dose, the sooner you can get it, the better. Being fully vaccinated will provide you with vaccine immunity.”
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