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Have you vaccinated against COVID-19? I haven’t, but I intend to, although I had caught the new coronavirus in April. Nobody knows how long the immunity will last. So I’m not prepared to gamble my health.

Everyone should get vaccinated as soon as it’s available. That would be the most sensible thing to do. A COVID-19 attack will manifest as viral fever for most people, but many others have undergone prolonged hospitalisations with lung infections. Nearly two million have died. So the virus is not something to be trifled with. We have to safeguard ourselves.

The COVID-19 protocols kept us safe. Now, we have vaccines: the shield to keep out the virus. Let’s use it.

We prayed for a vaccine when the virus, SARS-CoV-2, was killing people and shutting down economies. It’s still infecting millions, but we have the vaccine. The economies have reopened, and vaccines should help regain their health.

Pfizer and Sinopharm vaccines are effective

Two vaccines are available in the UAE. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is rolled out in Dubai, while Abu Dhabi has opted for Sinopharm. The vaccines may differ in approach, but both are effective. And they are free.

Sinopharm is readily available now. Frontline workers and vulnerable groups have priority. You can walk into select medical centres and hospitals across the country for vaccination. Now that we have the option of getting a vaccine jab, I will get it soon.

I got away lightly after contracting COVID-19. Around 10 days of high-grade fever and I was back on my feet. I may not be as lucky the next time around. Eight months have elapsed, and my immunity would have waned. Why would I take the risk when I have the chance to boost my immune system?

Benefits outweigh the risks

What about side-effects? Every effect has a side-effect, Sir Isaac Newton would have said. If you are worried about side-effects, you can never have medicines. Even paracetamol has side-effects. That hasn’t prevented us from taking paracetamols for fever or body pain.

With every medicine, the benefits outweigh the risks. And the side-effects occur in a tiny minority who have certain medical conditions or disorders. For the majority of people, most medicines work well. And doctors always warn patients of possible side-effects and follow up promptly.

Back to the COVID-19 vaccines. No major side-effects have been reported, which is why they are rolled out for immunisation. But people with allergies should seek medical advice before opting for the vaccine. Children should not take the jab. As for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, follow medical advice.

I have had opportunity to listen to several people who have been inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine. None has reported any ill-effects.

I can’t wait to get my jab.