Coronavirus: UAE says receiving COVID-19 vaccine does not reduce risk of infection

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The UAE government spokesman Dr. Omar al-Hammadi said on Tuesday that receiving the coronavirus vaccine does not reduce the risk of getting infected with the COVID-19 virus, state news agency WAM reported.

“Volunteers taking part in the coronavirus vaccine trial should adhere to relevant preventive procedures, including wearing facemasks and maintaining social distancing. Taking the trial vaccine doesn't necessarily means a person is far from infection of the virus,'' al-Hammadi said in a press conference.

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“After taking the second dose of the vaccine, volunteers will need a period of up to four weeks to enhance their immunity, and even after this period, their immune systems will only protect them, not other people and their families and colleagues. Therefore, it is essential for them to continue adhering to the precautionary measures,” he added.

In mid-July the UAE announced that it had started Phase III trial of Sinopharm CNBG’s inactivated vaccine to combat COVID-19 in collaboration with China. By August, over 5,000 volunteers in the UAE had been vaccinated.

In mid-September the government authorized the emergency use of the vaccine for members of the first line defense.

The UAE crossed the 100,000 mark of confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday. The tally now stands at 100,794 confirmed cases, 90,556 recovered patients and 435 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

Influenza vaccine

Asked about the importance of taking the seasonal influenza vaccine and the risks of being infected with seasonal influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, al-

Hammadi said: “Catching seasonal influenza and COVID-19 will pose risks to patients, especially given the difficulty in differentiating between the two conditions.”

“Everyone should help the national health sector by taking the influenza vaccine, which is available at all health centers. Influenza may only cause mild symptoms in some categories of people, but elderly people and people with chronic diseases may experience serious reactions,” he added.

“Influenza is similar to the coronavirus in terms of transmission, most notably through inhaling droplets from coughs and sneezes and touching contaminated surfaces then touching the mouth, nose or eyes,” the official explained.

Al-Hammadi advised that precautions against influenza were the same as with the coronavirus, wearing facemasks, practicing social distancing and washing and sanitizing hands.

He also stressed that the influenza vaccine does not protect against COVID-19 infection. However, it protects against the serious complications that it may lead to.

“The importance of taking the influenza vaccine increases for those suffering from complications and those with a higher risk of transmitting the disease to others, such as medical workers, children below the age of five, smokers, pregnant women and elderly people above 65 years of age, as well as people suffering from diabetes and cardiac, lung, liver and kidney diseases,” he said.

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