Dubai expands eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccine for women, virus patients - GulfToday

Dubai expands eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccine for women, virus patients

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Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Dubai has expanded the eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccination for women who are breastfeeding as well as for those who are planning to conceive.

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA)  said that as part of the criteria expansion women who are breastfeeding as well as those who are planning to conceive can take the mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech).

Also according to new criteria now patients who had COVID-19 no longer need to wait for three months to get the vaccine. They can take it on completion of their isolation, provided the infection was mild or non-symptomatic.

Dr Farida Al Khaja, CEO of DHA’s Clinical Support Services and Nursing Sector and Chairperson of the COVID-19 Vaccination Steering Committee said the decision taken by the COVID-19 scientific committee after due consideration is aligned with international guidelines.

"Any patient who had an active COVID-19 infection must wait until the completion of the isolation period to be vaccinated. If the infection was moderate or severe and required hospitalisation, the timeframe for vaccination after infection will depend on the decision of the medical team that treated the patient. However, all mild cases or cases without symptoms can take the vaccine after completing the isolation period," said Al Khaja.

Recently, the DHA also reduced the minimum age for some of the available vaccines to 16 years instead of 18 years.

The DHA has now extended eligibility for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, an mRNA vaccine is in line with the latest international studies and guidelines.

Dr Muna Tahlak, CEO of Latifa Hospital for Women and Children, said: "Clinical studies show that the mRNA vaccine is safe for women who are breastfeeding or planning to conceive unless the patient has certain medical contraindications to vaccines or any vaccine component. Mothers who are breastfeeding can now take an mRNA vaccine as per the latest DHA vaccine guidelines. There is no need to stop breastfeeding before or after vaccination."

"It is important to understand that COVID-19 vaccines are able to create an immune response without causing the illness and that they do not contain a live virus," said Dr Tahlak.

Dr Tahlak further said mRNA vaccination is also recommended for women who are actively trying to conceive or contemplating pregnancy. "It is not necessary to delay planning a pregnancy until after completing both doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, a routine pregnancy test is not recommended prior to receiving the vaccine."

Dr Al Khaja added that DHA has 11 dedicated vaccination centres in Dubai and two mobile clinics for providing home-vaccination for the elderly and those with chronic diseases. During Ramadan, the centres provide vaccination from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm and from 9.00 pm to midnight Sunday to Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, the centres will provide vaccinations from 9.00 pm to midnight only. The centres will only be open during the morning slot from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm during the last ten days of the Holy Month. The vaccination centres will be closed on 7 and 8 May.

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