Covid-19: UAE doctors say demand for booster jabs on the rise

The UAE's daily cases crossed the 1,000-mark on Thursday for the first time in four months



By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 24 Dec 2021, 4:56 PM

Last updated: Sat 25 Dec 2021, 7:34 AM

UAE doctors say there has been a significant increase in the demand for Covid-19 booster vaccines as cases rise.

The UAE's daily cases crossed the 1,000-mark on Thursday for the first time in four months. Though cases have surged recently, hospitalisation rates in the country remain low, government spokesperson Dr Noura Al Ghaithi had said earlier this week.

Still, doctors urged residents to get their booster shots as soon as possible for better protection against the virus.

Dr Kiran Kumar, internal medicine specialist at Thumbay Hospital Ajman, said the booster shots are mainly taken for two reasons.

"Studies shows that the booster dose helps increase the immunity/antibody levels manifold against Covid-19," he said. "There has been an increase in the Omicron variant and laboratory data has revealed that booster doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine produces virus-fighting antibodies capable of tackling Omicron."

Since the UAE has achieved a 100 per cent vaccination rate for all eligible people, the next step is getting the booster shots, said Dr Adel Al Sis, chief medical officer, consultant and head of intensive care unit at Prime Hospital.

"Vaccination is very important ... Earlier, there were much critical cases of Covid-19. But now, it has seen a sharp drop due to vaccination campaigns," he said.

Dr Shipra Rai, internal medicine specialist at Prime Medical Centre Sharjah, said boosters are important because Covid-19 immunity has been known to decline a few months after vaccination.

"It's imperative that a booster shot is administered to maintain a person's immunity against Covid-19," she said.

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Antibody levels naturally drop with time, but booster shots can help raise the levels, Dr Kumar added.

"Laboratory studies have shown that antibodies can increase by up to 25 times for Pfizer’s extra shot and 37 times for Moderna booster shot. We, however, do not know how much of the antibody is protective and for how long the protection will last."

Therefore, in addition to getting vaccinated, Dr Rai said residents must continue to practice social distancing protocols, wear masks, avoid crowds and wash their hands frequently.

ayaz@khaleejtimes.com


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