A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine [Illustrative image] Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has approved the emergency use of the booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech and Sputnik vaccines. The move comes as part of the national vaccination campaign efforts aimed at addressing COVID-19 pandemic.

The groups that should take the booster dose include senior citizens; residents above 60 years; people with chronic diseases; individuals at risk of complications from 50 to 59 years old, and people receiving long-term health care aged 18 years and above.

This protocol does not apply to the groups who have received Pfizer-BioNTech or Sputnik booster doses after being fully vaccinated with Sinopharm.

The new protocol was announced during the UAE Government media briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking during the briefing, Dr. Noura Al Ghaithi, Acting Executive Director of External Therapeutic Services, emphasised that the booster is given as an additional dose that’s given after receiving the first two vaccine doses. This booster should help improve immunity after vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infections decreases over time.

“We recommend individuals who are eligible for the booster shot be sure to take this dose on time, to protect their health and ensure safety from COVID-19 by boosting their immunity,” Al Ghaithi said.

“The UAE has reinforced its leading position -both regionally and globally- since the outbreak of the virus. The UAE now ranks among the first countries in globally in addressing the pandemic, thanks to the concerted efforts made by all sectors to ensure sustainable recovery,” Al Ghaithi stated.

“These impressive successes have been achieved thanks to the visionary vision of our wise leadership and the commitment and awareness of our society, thanks to which we have survived the challenges and will restore normalcy soon,” she further said.

We underline the need for social cohesion at this stage to maintain all the gains achieved. The phased removal of restrictions we’re witnessing requires us to share social responsibility to ensure public safety, contain the pandemic and move towards a brighter future

She stressed that the UAE health sector plays a vital role in strengthening the national response to COVID-19 and stemming its consequences. The sector has contributed, along with other sectors, to provide all the capabilities and resources necessary to address challenges and achieve recovery.

“We are proud of this proactive approach and of being one of the first countries to turn the challenges of the COVID-19 into opportunities and benefit from all the experiences we have gone through to become a global model,” Al Ghaithi noted.

She went on to say that the health sector has invested in its R&D potential and capabilities to realise the goals we’ve have achieved today, most notably safe vaccines in addition to the efficient treatment protocol in our hospitals.