Covid-19: UAE vaccines effective against Delta, other variants


Abu Dhabi - Nearly 90% of new Covid cases, ICU admissions, deaths are of unvaccinated people.


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Mon 28 Jun 2021, 7:59 PM

Last updated: Tue 29 Jun 2021, 2:01 PM

The UAE National Vaccination Programme has been effective against the different variants of SARS-CoV-2, medical experts said, while urging the unvaccinated to take the jab soon.

According to the latest data released by the UAE’s health authorities, nearly 90 per cent of the new Covid cases, hospitalisations, admissions to the ICU and deaths have been of unvaccinated people.

A recent analysis by the Public Health England also revealed that two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines – both available in the UAE – cuts chances of hospitalisation by 90 per cent if infected with the Delta – the newest variant detected in the country.

“SARS-CoV-2 constantly mutates, like other viruses, producing different variants. There are thousands of variants circulating across the world. However, most of these variants are inconsequential. The ‘variants of concern’ have evidence of increased transmissibility, severe disease or escape from protective antibodies produced by previous infection or vaccination. Alpha, Beta, and Delta are examples of these variants circulating in the UAE. The Delta is of significant concern because of its increased transmissibility,” said Dr Prashant Nasa, specialist critical care medicine, NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Nahda, Dubai.

“The research has found vaccines like Pfizer and AstraZeneca, which are being used in the UAE, are highly effective against these variants after two doses. However, the protection from one dose of vaccine appears to be reduced. Vaccines are crucial in lowering the risk of severe disease, hospitalisation and mortality,” Dr Nasa added.

Explaining how the vaccines are effective against the variants, Dr Kamal Singh, specialist respiratory medicine, Burjeel Royal Hospital, Al Ain, said: “Vaccines mimic the entry of the virus into the body, eliciting an immune response against the virus. Once antibodies are produced a few weeks after immunisation, the person’s body can respond immediately upon entry of the real virus, killing the infection completely and preventing infection. In cases where the immunity is lessened due to comorbidities like hypertension or diabetes, or other factors, the antibodies may not remove the virus completely, resulting in a milder infection than those occuring in unvaccinated people.”

Dr Singh underlined that, at this moment, vaccination is the best weapon against any variant.

“The effectiveness of the vaccines against the Delta variant is marginally less than the earlier variants, though exact numbers are still being researched. One stands a better outcome against them with available vaccinations than someone who is unvaccinated.”

On Monday, the vaccination campaign crossed 15.11 million doses at a distribution rate of 152.79 doses per 100 people. Also, 2,040 new cases and six deaths were reported.

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