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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Vaccines provide 95% protection against new variant strains: health official


Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna vaccines are being rolled out in Qatar as part of the national vaccination campaign. 

Both vaccines available as part of Qatar’s inoculation drive provide 95% protection against the new mutated strains of the novel coronavirus, a health official said.

The Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna vaccines have a high-efficiency rate in preventing infection, Dr. Nasser Ali Al-Ansari, microbial and infection control consultant and a member of the Crisis Committee at Hamad Medical Corporation, said.

As it stands, the UK strain is the most prevalent in Qatar, he said, noting it is also the most severe in terms of symptoms. However, the vaccines provide protection against the new South African and Brazilian strains, the doctor said in an interview with Qatar TV.

The health official also said those who have received both doses of the vaccine are more likely to be guarded from severe symptoms that may otherwise be fatal or require intensive care.

Read also: UK strain, spike in hospitalisation: Will more Covid-19 restrictions be imposed?

Mutated strains of the virus appear after a certain period of time, and the crucial difference is the speed in which the virus spreads or the severity of symptoms that appear. Despite this, the same precautionary measures are required to ensure safety. 

Major concerns have been raised over the last few weeks after authorities confirmed a 110% increase in the number of patients requiring hospitalisation since the start of February.

The number of daily hospital admissions has inclined from around 40 a few months ago to over 100 at present, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mohamed, acting chairman of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC)’s Intensive Care Units said in a press conference last week.

Some 127 acute cases were admitted to hospital on Monday, when authorities recorded 481 new positive infections. This bumped the number of current active cases to 11,958.

Since January, infections have increased fourfold and the total number of people currently under acute hospital care is 875.

Meanwhile, the capacity of hospitals that receive Covid-19 patients has increased by 60-70%.

However, Qatar’s healthcare sector is able to care for “each and every” Covid-19 patient requiring hospital and ICU admission in spite of the surge in recent weeks, officials assured.

“It is very important that people seek help early — as soon as they notice the signs and symptoms — as the earlier treatment can be given, the better the chances of a full recovery,” Dr. Al-Mohamed advised citizens and residents of Qatar.

Meanwhile, health authorities confirmed further restrictions are likely to be imposed if a significant increase in infections continues. 

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