Health expert explains how booster shots work and help protect against Covid-19.
Booster Covid-19 vaccine shots have been approved for UAE residents, it was announced on Tuesday.
Fully vaccinated residents are eligible to receive the booster jab six months after they receive their second dose.
Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson of the UAE Health Sector, said priority to receive the additional shot would be given to senior citizens and people with chronic diseases.
The move is part of the UAE’s “proactive strategy to provide maximum protection for society”.
International studies have shown that Covid-19 vaccines offer protection for at least six months.
Booster shots are typically given to those who have less immunity against diseases and people with chronic illnesses.
It was earlier announced that a limited number of people in the UAE had received a booster shot to kick in an immune response against the virus. It helped boost antibodies and is known to protect against new Covid strains.
Dr Ramesh, internal medicine (specialist), Aster Hospital, Qusais, explained how booster shots work.
“The antibody response to the booster dose is characterised by a shorter lag period as the body is previously exposed (to the vaccine).
Also, the response is prompt, powerful and produce significant levels of antibodies that may last for longer periods.”
The doctors explained that the accelerated response is achieved thanks to “immunological memory”.
“That’s the reason inactivated vaccines like Sinopharm are given as booster doses,” he explained.
Prioritising the vulnerable population like senior citizens and people with chronic diseases would help reduce hospitalisations, he added.
“These categories are at risk of developing Covid-related complications like severe pneumonia, requiring oxygen and ventilator support. The booster shots would reduce the number of people getting sick and reduce the rate of hospitalisation and ICU admissions,” Dr Ramesh added.
73.88% of eligible residents vaccinated
The official said over 73.88 per cent of eligible groups in the UAE have received the Covid-19 vaccine. These are residents aged above 16 years.
Additionally, over 80 per cent the elderly population have been vaccinated. “This is the priority group for the UAE as they are more vulnerable to the disease and its complications.”
The country’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said the total doses administered now stands at 11.59 million. This takes the rate of doses to 117.23 per 100 people.
The official reassured residents that the four Covid vaccines available in the UAE are safe.
“All vaccines undergo strict safety tests, and go through several stages, including clinical trials, before they are approved for use,” she said.
Citing data from the UAE’s National Vaccination Campaign, Dr Al Hosani said that vaccines have helped reduce hospital admissions and the need to put patients on ventilators.