UAE Covid vaccine: Third dose to help those with weak immunity

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Dubai - A small number of people in the UAE have received a third Covid-19 vaccine ‘booster’ shot which aims to kick in an immune response against the virus.

By Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 11 Mar 2021, 3:16 PM

The third dose of Sinopharm vaccine can be taken by those who have less immunity against diseases, people with chronic illnesses and who belong to the high-risk group, UAE doctors have said.

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A small number of people in the UAE have received a third Covid-19 vaccine ‘booster’ shot which aims to kick in an immune response against the virus.

The modified third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine should boost antibodies development and lead to a better immune response against variants of the virus as well.

Dr Gunjan Mahajan, specialist clinical pathologist, Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery, Dubai opined: “Sinopharm’s efficacy has been revised to 79.34 per cent and its protection against variants is quite stronger than other vaccine types. A small number of people have received the third shot of Sinopharm vaccine to prompt production of antibodies. The UAE started offering booster dose vaccine to those who are already vaccinated.”

She added: “Sinopharm is a type of inactivated viral vaccine; hence, immunity offered from its two doses may not be enough to fight against the increasing number of coronavirus variants. After being vaccinated with two doses, residents and Emiratis, who do not develop enough antibodies against Covid-19, could receive a third booster dose of Sinopharm vaccine.”

Medics reiterated that the third dose can be reserved for those who have not developed enough antibodies or those who are at a higher risk of developing complications from Covid-19.

Dr Sandeep Pargi, pulmonology, specialist in respiratory medicine, Aster Hospital, Mankhool, pointed out: “The third dose of Sinopharm vaccine is not in the national policy. The practice is in the trial phase. Third dose should be taken by those having comorbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension, severe asthma, chronic renal or cardiac diseases. I would say that people are getting complacent after taking the first shot of the vaccine. They are not following protocols after the vaccine. I urge everyone to follow precautions even after taking the complete dose of the vaccines.”

Doctors further explained that people who have not experienced any side effects after the first two doses have lesser chances of getting the same after the third jab.

The vaccine that is available for free across the UAE is administered up to 28 days apart; with its effectiveness also kicking in up to 28 days after the second booster dose.

Dr Adel Al Sisi, chief, medical officer and consultant intensive care, Prime Hospital, underlined: “In the laboratory assessment that checked the level of antibodies production against the vaccines, some patients developed high antibodies against the virus while some showed low antibodies. Looking at the outcome, the third booster dose is recommended for patients having low antibodies production.

The side effects, if any, will be similar to that experienced earlier like pain on site of injection, nausea, diarrohea, malaise etc.

Additionally, people should not let their guards down and must wash their hands with soap and water, or else, use hand sanitiser. Maintain social distance and always wear masks to keep yourself protected from Covid-19.”

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