UAE Covid vaccine: How long will jab protect you?

Dubai - Top UAE official explains how vaccines protect you from the coronavirus.

(File photo)
(File photo)

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Wed 17 Feb 2021, 1:02 PM

The UAE's national vaccination campaign marked a turning point in the battle against Covid-19 as authorities announced that over 40 per cent of residents have received the jab.

Currently, four Covid-19 vaccines are available in the UAE: Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V, and AstraZeneca. (Read our explainer on the four vaccines and they work)

Now, does vaccination mean immunity against Covid-19 for life? How long does the protection last?

Dr Farida Al Hosani, the official spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector, addressed some of these pressing questions at the weekly Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday.

>> How long will Covid-19 vaccination protect me from infection?

Dr Hosani: Sinopharm's clinical trials have shown that its vaccine can reduce the chances of contracting Covid-19 and prevent complications from the disease. However, no one can yet determine how long the protection will last. This applies to all vaccines developed to treat Covid-19.

(Note: In an earlier discussion, Dr Hosani had said that people may need to take the Covid jab every year - similar to how flu vaccines are administered. You can read the report here)

>> Does this mean I will lose immunity against Covid-19 over time?

Dr Hosani: The level of antibodies can decrease over months, but the immune system also contains special cells called memory cells that may retain Covid-19 information for long periods of time that may reach years. This means these cells can remember the pathogen if the infection is encountered again and stimulates the immune system to reproduce antibodies that are resistant to the virus.

DON'T MISS: What to do if you get infected after taking first dose

Researchers also found that these cells underwent cycles of mutations even after recovery and were able to produce effective antibodies more than those initially caused by the infection. Tests have also indicated that these antibodies are able to identify mutated strains.

We are currently working with the relevant health authorities to determine the required vaccination administration schedule as is the case with other vaccines such as the flu one.

>> Do I develop immunity after the first dose?

Most of the recorded infections are after the first dose and due to exposure to the virus from the community before the formation of sufficient immunity in the body to prevent the disease. (The immunity) is expected to be formed at least two weeks after the second dose. We advise all individuals to commit to taking the second dose, to ensure the highest rate of prevention of the disease.

There is no doubt that vaccines are the best way to defeat this pandemic, and the higher the vaccination rate in society, the higher the immunity rate.

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