Covid in UAE: Residents must adhere to precautions even after 4 vaccine doses, say doctors

Fully vaccinated individuals are not immune from the virus



By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Wed 5 Jan 2022, 4:26 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Jan 2022, 4:53 PM

Healthcare specialists in the UAE have urged residents to keep their guards up even if they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and have received two doses of the booster shot.

Residents have been advised to follow all precautionary measures laid down by the authorities for their own safety.

Dr Kavuri Sree R Murthy, internal medicine specialist, RAK Hospital, said one of the most common misconceptions among the general public is that a fully vaccinated individual is immune to the virus. But that is far from the case.

"An effective vaccine will protect the person by lowering the chance of getting Covid-19 if the person encounters the virus in the future. It also decreases complications and the requirement for hospitalisation, but it does not completely eliminate the possibility of an infection," he said.

Dr Hafiz Ahmed, visiting head of molecular division, RAK Hospital, echoed Dr Murthy's words. Though vaccines and booster jabs can provide safety, he said: "One cannot assure complete immunity to Covid-19 and can get infected with new and emerging SARS-CoV-2 strains that are locally circulating."

Doctors stressed that the main benefit of getting vaccinated is that it will minimise the severity of complications.

Dr Mohamed Zedan, family medicine specialist, NCM Royal Hospital in Sharjah, said: "Unfortunately, we have seen four doses of vaccinated staff and patients with reinfections within six to eight months from the previous infection. Complications are usually less, but this can still happen in rare cases after the vaccine."

Though vaccines are not 100 per cent effective, Dr Sweta Adatia, medical director and neurologist, RAK Hospital, urged residents to get the booster doses soon.

"The efficiency of vaccine in the trials is very different in practice, in the lab and inside the body," she said. "There are so many factors that influence protection based on our body mechanism."

The complications between vaccinated and non-vaccinated people vary greatly. Highlighting the main differences, Dr Adatia said: "Vaccinated people are not at risk for death, extended ventilator issues or organ dysfunction from Covid-19. Vaccines offer protection from serious and severe illness."

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Vaccinated individuals who fail to observe safety precautions not only pose a threat to themselves, but also others. Doctors say fully vaccinated people are likely to be asymptomatic. As a result, they could transfer their infection to others without being aware of it.

"If a person is infected post-vaccination, they can transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus if the initial viral load is high. They will continue to spread the virus unless appropriate quarantine measures are taken to break the transmission chain," Dr Hafiz said.

Even after four doses of the vaccine, the following precautionary measures must be observed:

  • Avoid unnecessary social gatherings and celebrations
  • Continue to observe precautions with relatives, friends and colleagues
  • Wear face masks and sanitise regularly
  • Practice social distancing
  • Limit unnecessary travel from home to office
  • Wash hands thoroughly after returning home and before a meal
  • Maintain a safe distance in public places
  • Avoid unnecessary physical contact, such as handshakes and hugs
  • Cover nose and mouth with a bent elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • Stay home if you feel unwell

ayaz@khaleejtimes.com


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