Covid vaccine supply pledged by kingdom

BAHRAIN will secure a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it is available in the market, it was stressed yesterday.

Health Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Waleed Al Manea was responding to queries on Bahrain’s stance on the Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine, commonly known as the Oxford Vaccine, which has been developed by UK’s Oxford University.

At an online Press briefing yesterday, he assured the public that if the vaccine is proven effective then Bahrain will work on securing it.

“We know the vaccine is under trial and that GCC countries who wish to book the vaccine have agreed to book and co-ordinate to get it when released in the market,” said Dr Al Manea.

“When available and if proven effective, Bahrain will be among the top countries to book the vaccines.”

The vaccine is already being evaluated in a large clinical trial in the UK where more than 4,000 participants have been enrolled, while similar studies are about to start in Brazil as well.

An even larger study of the same vaccine of up to 30,000 participants is being planned in the US as well.

Also speaking at yesterday’s Press conference was Salmaniya Medical Complex infectious and internal diseases consultant Dr Jameela Al Salman, who said Bahrain has already included dexamethasone in its treatment protocol.

The steroid, which the World Health Organisation has called for a rapid increase in production, has shown to reduce deaths in critically ill Covid-19 patients.

Around 2,000 patients were given the drug by researchers, led by a team from Oxford University, and it reduced deaths by 35 per cent, according to findings published last week.

“Dexamethasone is a steroid and one of the old drugs used for inflammation in the body,” explained Dr Al Salman.

“We have started using it and we have a long experience of using it for different diseases and we have included it in our treatment protocol.”

Dexamethasone has been on the market for over 60 years and usually serves to reduce inflammation. The WHO emphasises that dexamethasone should only be used for patients with severe or critical diseases under close clinical supervision.




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