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National Medical Taskforce stresses eligible individuals to take a booster shot

October 7, 2021

The National Medical Taskforce for Combatting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) today held a press conference to provide an update on the Kingdom’s COVID-19 response at the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research, Bahrain Defence Force Hospital.

Dr. Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and member of the National Taskforce for Combatting the Coronavirus (COVID-19), stated that COVID-19 mitigation efforts will continue according to plan until the Kingdom reaches its goals, including protecting public health.

Despite the gradual return to normal life, Dr. Al Manea warned against falling into a false sense of security by neglecting precautionary measures and not receiving a vaccination or a booster shot.

Dr. Al Manea called on eligible individuals to register to get vaccinated or to get a booster shot to achieve optimum immunity and advance measures against the pandemic.

Dr. Al Manea also stated that since 4 October, the vaccination status of individuals eligible for a booster shot has been changed on the BeAware application from the Green Shield to the Yellow Shield until they opt to receive a booster shot.

Eligible individuals can register for a vaccine or a booster shot through the BeAware application or by visiting the website www.healthalert.gov.bh.

For his part, Lt. Col. Doctor Manaf Al Qahtani, Infectious Disease Consultant and Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combatting the Coronavirus, stated that national medical studies and statistics from from 1 July to 1 October 2021, have revealed that out of those who have been infected with COVID-19, 52% were among those who did not take a booster shot. Only 3% were among those who received the booster shot. It is therefore clear that booster shots increase immunity.

Dr. Al Qahtani noted that shots have been approved for those who are 18 years of age and above, who have received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca (Covishield), or Sputnik V vaccine at least six months ago. Eligible individuals can opt for the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine or the same vaccine they have received for their first and second doses, as a booster shot.

Additionally, those aged 18 to 39, who have taken the second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine, can now take a booster shot after three months, instead of the initial recommendation of six months.

Those who are 40 years or older as well as adults under 40 who suffer from obesity, immunodeficiency or chronic diseases who received the Sinopharm vaccine, can take a booster shot one month after their second dose. They too can opt for the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine or the same vaccine they have received for their first and second doses, as a booster shot.

Dr. Al Qahtani also called on those who have recovered from COVID-19 and have received their first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, to take their second shot by visiting the same vaccination centre without having to book an appointment. This follows the announced changes to the vaccination protocols for eligible individuals.

Recovered individuals can take two doses of the vaccine three months after their date of infection and take the booster shot after twelve months from the date of infection.

Dr. Jameela Al Salman, Consultant of Infectious Diseases and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex and Member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combatting the Coronavirus, provided updates on the National Vaccination Campaign, focusing on the vaccination of children. Dr. Al Salman explained that the successful results achieved thus far require commitment and determination to follow all measures and an encouragement to take a vaccination and a booster shot.

Dr. Al Salman highlighted that there has been a high turnout of children aged 3-11, who suffer from a weak immune system to take the Sinopharm vaccine, adding that there has been success in vaccinating the 12 to 17 age group with the Sinopharm and the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines.

Dr. Al Salman urged parents to take the initiative to register their children to receive a vaccine and thanked all those who took the initiative to register in order to preserve the health of their children and provide them with the necessary immunity to combat the virus.

In conclusion, Dr. Al Salman stressed the importance of booster shots in raising the body’s immune system to alleviate the symptoms and complications associated with the virus that may require treatment, intensive care or mortality.

Dr Al Salman concluded by noting the importance of adhering to the precautionary measures and decisions announced in schools and educational institutions in order to preserve public health, so as to ensure the recovery phase continues to progress.