Stay vigilant call on Covid-19

PEOPLE who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 have been urged not to let their guards down as the pandemic is far from over and the precautions in place to stop its spread are imperative.

Medics have warned that those inoculated could still be asymptomatic carriers and spread the viral infection to others.

They have urged all citizens and residents – irrespective of their vaccine status – to strictly abide by health guidelines and wear facemasks, maintain social distancing and practise hand hygiene.

Bahrain has been witnessing a spike in the daily number of Covid-19 cases after mid-December, with cases averaging around 266 since late December.

“I’m strongly against the public attitude of taking it for granted that we are all good, we cannot afford to be relaxed on the mandatory preventive measures,” Bahrain Specialist Hospital chief executive Dr Kasim Ardati told the GDN.

“Until we have a big population – as in 70 to 80 per cent – vaccinated, we need to continue stringent measures. Until then people may still acquire the disease, develop serious health complications or infect others.”

KIMSHEALTH Hospital internal medicine specialist Dr Ravi Srinivasan also urged people not to let their guards down.

“Irrespective of whether you have taken one dose of vaccine or both, it’s no guarantee that you are off the risk – you can still get the disease or even be a carrier and spread the infection,” he said.

“By taking the vaccination, you can prevent the seriousness of infection as you could get the disease and be asymptomatic or show mild symptoms.”

Bahrain offers free vaccine to its population with a choice of Chinese Sinopharm and Pfizer/BioNTech, although supplies of the latter have been disrupted, as reported in the GDN. Two others are also under consideration to help in the battle.

Dr Ebrahim Alsindi ENT Centre, ear nose throat consultant and head and neck surgeon Dr Talal Ebrahim Alsindi, who reiterated the efficacy and safety of vaccines, said alertness was vital until the country achieved ‘herd immunity’ (more than 70pc immunity amongst the population).

More than 120,000 people have been inoculated so far, which is approximately six per cent of the population. “Currently, the immunity level amongst the population is not sufficient to provide herd immunity. This means we are still vulnerable and susceptible to Covid-19.”

Dr Alsindi also cited the emergence of new variants and said it calls for added vigilance.

“This is a group effort and without co-operation, we will not succeed,” he said.

Shifa Al Jazeera Medical Centre internal medicine specialist Dr Biju Moses also highlighted the possibility of those vaccinated spreading the infection to others.

“Current studies look at whether the vaccine could prevent people from becoming sick but they did not look at whether people who have been inoculated can still transmit the virus.”

He added that most people who are infected develop an immune response within the first few weeks, however, its strength and span differs with individuals.

“There have also been reports of people infected with Covid-19 for a second time,” he said.

“Until we better understand Covid-19 immunity, it will not be possible to know how much of a population is immune and how long that immunity will last.”

Health Ministry’s family physician Dr Hind Al Sindi explained that upon achieving herd immunity, the whole community is protected and ‘not just those who are immune’.

“Vaccines are divided into two doses 21 days apart and optimal immunity can only be achieved 14 days after receiving the second dose.”

The GDN recently reported an analysis of the existing cases and it was found that almost 50pc of them were children and housewives. Thirteen per cent were children aged between 0-17 years.

The Health Ministry said the virus was transmitted to them due to lack of commitment and societal contact between relatives.


Why do I have to continue with precautions after I’ve been vaccinated?

In the short run, it will take some time for the vaccine’s effectiveness to build up.

Can I spread the virus to others even if I’m fully vaccinated?

The data to answer the question of whether vaccinated people can still spread the virus are just now being collected.

How can you spread a virus if you’ve been vaccinated?

The concern with the vaccine is about whether you might still have an asymptomatic infection despite immunisation – without symptoms, but able to shed virus.

Now that I’m vaccinated, can I take my mask off in a crowded room if everyone else has also been vaccinated?

You might think you’re home free in that case, but not yet. Many in the research community advise caution.

With cases and deaths surging throughout the world, the people who are treating Covid-19 patients really want you to continue to wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands, even if you’ve been vaccinated, until the research on shedding has yielded some answers.




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