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Officials warn against taking double Pfizer booster shot

Abu Dhabi: After being fully inoculated with Sinopharm’s vaccine, taking two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could pose a health risk, officials said.

UAE’s crisis and disaster agency said it was aware that some residents had received two booster shots instead of one. People who received the Sinopharm vaccine early on are eligible for a third shot, but some have requested a fourth for travel purposes.

‘We note that some people may insist on taking more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine than recommended, which contradicts the opinion of doctors, and which may expose them to unwanted health complications,’ the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority said on Sunday. ‘So we advise everyone to adhere to the opinion of the treating doctor in order to ensure their health and safety.’

The authorities in Abu Dhabi require a doctor’s assessment before administering an additional booster shot.

UAE does not require this, and people attending clinics are asked to be honest about their vaccination status.

People planning to travel to Europe this summer would not be likely to enter some EU countries if they had taken the Sinopharm vaccine, which is yet to be accepted by the European Medicines Agency. It has caused some people to try two Pfizer booster shots to get the vaccine card.

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, a federal government spokeswoman for health, said that all residents should ‘check their eligibility to receive the vaccination based on the medical evaluation’ at the vaccine center before taking two Pfizer shots after Sinopharm. According to her, boosters should only be taken if medically necessary.

Now, medical opinion largely supports mixing vaccines in certain circumstances to provide a better immune response, including against new and highly transmissible variants.

One of the UAE’s top immunologists, Dr. Gehad ElGhazali, told the Arab Health conference that a single Pfizer booster, taken months after the original Sinopharm vaccine, leads to a ‘very strong’ immune response to the Coronavirus.

Clinics have also offered a third Sinopharm injection to anyone who received a second dose six months prior.

In the meantime, the government announced on Sunday that more than one in three Covid-19 cases in the UAE was the highly infectious Delta variant.

The death rate increased in the country as a result of the spread of mutations, the failure to follow rules and the failure to take the vaccine, officials said.

Ninety-four percent of deaths occurred in unvaccinated individuals. Only 6 percent of those who died had received the vaccine.

The figures were released on Sunday during a Covid-19 briefing, during which the authorities stressed the importance of full vaccination.


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