The National Taskforce for Combating 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.
HE Dr. Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health noted that the Kingdom’s vaccine uptake plan is evolving, but remains focussed on reaching vulnerable citizens at greatest risk of developing complications from COVID-19, including those over 70 and those with underlying conditions or with a BMI of 25 and above.
Lt. Col. Manaf Al Qahtani, Infectious Disease Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital, commented that vaccines reduce the risk of serious complications associated with COVID-19, including death, and are effective in slowing existing and new variants.
Dr. Manaf added that the Kingdom has authorized 5 different vaccines, with high safety and efficacy profiles, to accelerate immunization rates and increase availability, noting that comparing efficacy rates among vaccines can be misleading and should not be a basis for decision-making.
Recent data demonstrate the importance of being vaccinated. A total of 1,102 positive vaccinated contacts were mainly asymptomatic or developed mild symptoms, while 26.7% of 8,414 unvaccinated positive contacts developed severe symptoms with 2 deaths recorded, between 1st January 2021 and 11th March 2021.
Dr. Manaf affirmed that the two groups hospitalization rates varied significantly with only 8% of vaccinated individuals admitted to hospital, while the effectiveness of all anti-virus vaccinations in Bahrain, including against mutated viruses, has been confirmed during of January and February, by following up 8414 cases out of 14,640 existing cases of contacts who received two doses of vaccination, compared to the same number of those who did not receive the vaccination.