COVID-19 booster shots are available for all United Arab Emirates residents six months after taking their second shot of the vaccine and after three months for individuals who are classed as high-risk, health officials said.
The National Crisis Emergency and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) made the announcement during a government briefing on Tuesday.
The authority said booster shots after two doses of a vaccine increases immunity against the virus.
Vaccines available in the UAE include Sinophram, Pfizer, Russia’s Sputnik V, and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Individuals classed as high risk include those with chronic illnesses, senior citizens and pregnant women.
Dr Noura al-Ghaithi, acting CEO of External Therapeutic Services, advised all residents to get vaccinated.
“Vaccines can prevent infections, complications and hospitalization,” she said. “It can also reduce hospitalization time and the need for ventilators.”
She also stressed the importance of receiving the appropriate treatment for COVID-19 – including taking the antiviral drug sotrovimab. The UAE was one of the first countries to obtain the drug which, she said, is considered one of the most successful global treatments for COVID-19.
“This medicine can be prescribed to people above 12 years. It is very important for people who may face complications.”
“In 99 percent of the cases, patients made a full recovery in just 14 days and only 20 percent needed treatment in hospital.”
“So far, 13,000 people have received the drug.”
She said to continue the UAE’s successful in battling the pandemic, it is important that people continue to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, including social distancing and wearing a mask in public.
The UAE reported 1,548 new coronavirus infections, 1,504 recoveries and four deaths in 24 hours, the country’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority reported on Tuesday.
According to NCEMA, the country’s death toll from COVID-19 sits at almost 2,000 and active cases have mounted to 20,802.
Most of the UAE’s population have been vaccinated against the virus, with 79 percent already inoculated with at least one dose and 70 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
NCEMA also announced the approval of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine for three to 17 year-olds on Monday so the number of vaccinated people in the UAE is expected to rise soon.