UAE officials warn of two Pfizer booster shots after Sinopharm jab

Abu Dhabi:The United Arab Emirates medical experts said taking two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot after fully vaccinated with Sinopharm vaccine may pose a health risk.

Fully vaccinated community members should not insist on taking more than one dose of the COVID booster vaccine, as doing so may cause complications, Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson, UAE health sector, said during a media briefing on Sunday.

Residents of the United Arab Emirates who have taken two doses of Sinopharm vaccine are eligible to a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech six months after receiving their second dose.

As per media reports, local health authorities insist on a second booster shot – either because they want to improve their immunity or because they want to travel to Europe, where Pfizer and AstraZeneca are among the approved vaccines. In some cases, the Al-Hosn app does not display the dose and people try to take an extra dose for travel purposes.

“We note that some people may insist on taking more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine than recommended, which contradicts the opinion of doctors, and which may expose them to unwanted health complications,” the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority said on Sunday.

“So we advise everyone to adhere to the opinion of the treating doctor in order to ensure their health and safety.”

They even tweeted on Monday writing about this:

Dr Mohamed Shafeeq, specialist — internal medicine at Dubai’s Medeor Hospital told Khaleej Times, “Analysis of COVID-19 data clearly shows that vaccinated people are safe from contracting the virus. Vaccines are our only help,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean people should try to get more vaccines than what the Ministry of Health has specified. Two shots of Sinopharm and a Pfizer (booster) are sufficient to ensure maximum protection.”

International studies show that the COVID-19 vaccine provides protection for at least six months. Booster shots are usually given to people who have low immunity against diseases and people with chronic illnesses.

Earlier on May 18, UAE health sector’s spokesperson, Dr. Farida Al Hosani quoted by Khaleej Times, priority to receive an additional dose of Sinopharm is for the senior citizens and people with chronic diseases. 

The move is part of the UAE’s “proactive strategy to provide maximum protection for society”.

Abu Dhabi begins using COVID-19 face scanners

Abu Dhabi began to use facial scanners to detect COVID-19 virus infections at malls and airports starting from June 28, after a trial of 20,000 people showed “a high degree of effectiveness.”

The decision comes to strengthen preventive measures using the latest technologies, and to limit the spread of the virus by establishing safe areas that have been subject to a series of precautionary measures.

According to the media reports, if the scanner identifies a person potentially infected with COVID-19, he/she will not be allowed to enter the said places. They must follow the approved protocol and perform a PCR test within 24 hours.

UAE: Alpha, Beta and Delta COVID-19 variants detected

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, the official spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, said on Sunday in a media briefing, that the COVID-19 variants that were recently detected in the country include Alpha, Beta and Delta, which are now the most common mutated variants detected in many countries around the world.

The most common strain found in the UAE is the Beta strain – 39.2 per cent – followed by Delta at 33.9 per cent and lastly Alpha with 11.3 per cent.