New mutant strains place unvaccinated people in UAE 'at high risk'

Officials say new booster shots will provide extra antibodies

Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the state health sector. She said a campaign of third, or booster, doses was a priority. 
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New mutant strains of Covid-19 pose a high risk to society, particularly unvaccinated people, a government official said.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the state health sector, said those who had not yet been inoculated were at high risk of contracting the virus.

She urged all residents to book vaccination appointments.

"We stress that mutations pose a high risk to society, especially for those who are not vaccinated, so we call upon members of the community who are not vaccinated to take the available vaccinations," the National Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (Ncema) said on Twitter after the briefing.

"Studies show that those who are vaccinated with all the prescribed doses of the #Covid19 vaccine and the booster dose are less exposed to infection and complications of the disease, admission to hospitals, reduced hospital stay and no need for respirators," read another tweet.

A national committee is studying the mutations, monitoring them daily and examining the efficacy of the vaccines on them, Dr Al Hosani said.

The government is urging all residents, especially the elderly and chronically ill, to receive a third vaccine shot as a booster.

The booster can be from the same manufacturer as the original shots or, subject to a medical examination, a different vaccine, authorities said.

Al Hosn Green Pass awareness signages are put up at the Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi on June 14th, 2021. The new Covid-19 restrictions start tomorrow. Victor Besa / The National.
Al Hosn Green Pass awareness signs are put up at Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National

More than 87 per cent of UAE residents are vaccinated – a proportion that rises to 97.5 per cent if looking only at people aged over 60.

Vaccination figures are currently at 141.19 doses per 100 eligible people.

Earlier in the week, Dubai officials said uptake was high, but authorities were worried about the 17 per cent of the population who had yet to receive a first shot.

Officials said that case figures had risen after Eid Al Fitr and residents were urged to maintain social distancing even when vaccinated so that the nation could move on to the next step of the recovery plan.

"Therefore, we call upon the honourable public with the approach of the holiday season and Eid Al Adha to adhere to preventive measures," Ncema said on Twitter.

Dr Al Hosani said UAE task forces, in collaboration with federal and local government entities, implemened 33 projects since the outbreak of the pandemic and took part in more than 400 medical and scientific studies to support global efforts to combat the virus.

On Tuesday, Abu Dhabi's new Covid-19 green pass system went live at public venues across the capital.

It is the next step in the emirate's pandemic recovery plan and was announced last week.

The safety measures require people to show their testing and vaccination status on Al Hosn – the UAE's test and tracing app – to gain entry to places such as parks, beaches, malls, hotels and large supermarkets.

Gyms, swimming pools, entertainment centres, restaurants and cafes will also require proof for entry.