The Medical Director of Communicable Disease Center (CDC) at Hamad Medical Corporation's (HMC) Dr. Muna Al Maslamani, says there is clear evidence in Qatar that the COVID-19 vaccines are offering high levels of protection against the virus and preventing people from becoming sick.
"Extensive clinical trials have shown the Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to be around 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection. This does not mean vaccinated people are immune to the virus or cannot contract it, but it means they are very unlikely to develop severe symptoms and become ill in the event that they do contract COVID-19," explained Dr. Al Maslamani.
"No vaccine is ever 100 percent effective and a very small number of people may still become sick due to COVID-19, even if they are fully vaccinated. However, we are already seeing very encouraging evidence in Qatar of the effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing severe illness. There have been no COVID-19 deaths in Qatar among people who are fully vaccinated, and since 1 January 2021, 12,249 people have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19 and just 197 of these had been fully vaccinated. This means that just 1.6 percent of COVID-19 admissions to hospital inpatient units are for fully vaccinated people. In Qatar, non-vaccinated people of all ages are 61 times more likely to be admitted to hospital inpatient units with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people," she added.
Dr. Al Maslamani explained that for fully vaccinated people the likelihood of being admitted to intensive care due to COVID-19 is even lower. "Since the start of the year we have had 1,766 COVID-19 admissions to ICU and just 19 of these patients had been fully vaccinated. So just 1 percent of COVID-19 ICU admissions have been for fully vaccinated people. In fact, in Qatar non-vaccinated people of all ages are 91 times more likely to be admitted to ICU with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people."
To date, 40 percent of the eligible population in Qatar has received at least one vaccine dose and 22 percent have received both doses. Dr. Al Maslamani said the vaccination program is now having a significant impact. "While it is too early to make conclusive predictions, our COVID-19 data in Qatar shows that the hospital admission rates levelled off over the past week to ten days and we have even seen a decline over the past few days. This is very encouraging and the first indication that the combination of the COVID-19 restrictions as well as the vaccination rollout is working to prevent the spread of the virus" she added.
Source and cover image: QNA
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