Community COVID immunity in reach – Europe likely to ‘green list’ Kuwait

Kuwait’s Health Minister Sheikh Dr. Bassel Al-Sabah’s announcement that 70 percent of population have been vaccinated disseminated optimism nationwide that community immunity was within reach. The announcement came after almost two years of strict measures triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, including lockdowns and partial curfews. Kuwait was fully mobilized to control spread of the virus and began vaccination campaign eight months ago with the ultimate aim of reaching community immunity. Indeed more than 2.6 million people were vaccinated so far.

His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al- Hamad Al-Sabah launched the vaccination campaign with a Pfizer-BionTech shot and had recently announced success of campaign, paving way for full return of employees to workplace in person. “We are on the right track to achieve community immunity,” Ministry of Health spokesman Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad said and expressed gratitude for health care workers for their fight against the virus. He also commended citizens and expatriates for registering to get the vaccine. Dr. Khaled Al-Saeed, member of COVId-19 vaccine committee, said the inoculation has paved way to community immunity which would eventually eased strain on health system in case of future waves of the pandemic.

The vaccination, he added, contributed to a drop in number of patients in hospitals and deaths. It also encouraged the ministry to introduce a third shot of the vaccine “for critical cases.” Maryam Abdurrahman, director of nutrition department at Kuwait Cancer Center, described the 70-percent vaccination threshold as “a great breakthrough.” She said the pandemic affected the psychological, social and health behavior, and the acceleration of vaccination would have positive impacts among people with low immunity.

Eman Ahmad, a mother of an autistic boy, said her child could now enjoy his time outdoors in order to live a normal life. Amal Abdullah, member of Kuwait Writers Association, said acceleration of vaccinations encouraged the association to organize a book fair, the first since outbreak of the pandemic. A UK study revealed Wednesday that it recorded a decline in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines after only two months of taking two jabs. The data from the ZOE COVID Study, in cooperation with King’s College London, confirmed that protection after two shots of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine decreased from 88 percent at one month to 74 percent at five to six months. For the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the fall was from 77 percent to 67 percent at four to five months, as waning protection is to be expected, say experts. Professor Tim Spector, lead investigator on the ZOE COVID Study app behind the research, said that the findings could explain recent breakthrough infections that some fully vaccinated people have been reporting.

He estimates that protection against infection could drop to 50 percent by the winter and boosters will be needed, but other experts urge caution about making predictions for the months ahead. Spector said in a statement to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that the study based its results on data of more than one million people who received two shots of one of the two most widely used vaccines in the UK, which are Pfizer and AstraZeneca. The UK is expected to begin offering some people a third COVID- 19 booster jab next month. Kuwait is expected to be included in the ‘green list’ of many European countries soon, since its efforts to combat corona has yielded the desired results, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting a reliable source. According to the source, there is no correspondence between countries regarding the above; but each country has its own health committee tasked to assess the conditions of countries daily.

Source- Arab Times.


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