Covid Omicron variant: Vaccine boosters ensure protection, says UAE official

PCR testing is still the best way to detect Covid and helps authorities in quick intervention



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by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 8 Dec 2021, 6:47 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Dec 2021, 6:50 PM

The UAE made Covid vaccine booster shots available to all residents aged over 18 to “ensure protection from new variants” like Omicron, a top official has said.

“We urge those eligible to take a booster shot of the vaccine to protect themselves and support the national efforts to address the pandemic and Covid-19 variants,” government spokesperson Dr Farida Al Hosani said during a briefing on Wednesday.

Fully vaccinated adults in the UAE are eligible to get Pfizer and Sputnik booster shots six months after their second dose. Boosters help enhance immunity and are known to protect an individual from new Covid strains.

BioNTech and Pfizer said on Wednesday that a “three-shot course” of their Covid-19 vaccine was shown to generate a neutralising effect against the Omicron variant in a laboratory test.

‘PCR tests can detect Omicron’

Dr Farida said that PCR testing is still the best way to detect Covid and helps authorities in quick intervention.

The UAE is continuing to expand the scope of PCR testing. “We confirm that PCR tests can detect new variants such as Omicron.”

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She stressed that residents had to continue adhering to Covid safety measures to stay safe. These include wearing face masks and avoiding crowded areas.

Travel advisory

With countries around the world revising pre-travel requirements as the Omicron variant spreads, the official issued an advisory for travellers.

“We ask citizens and residents wishing to travel to learn about the requirements and procedures of the visiting countries and adhere to them, to avoid any penalties for violations in these countries,” government spokesperson Dr Farida Al Hosani said during a briefing on Wednesday.

“Those wishing to travel or return to the UAE are required to take the required tests on time,” she advised.


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