The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) today held a press conference at the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research at the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital, to highlight measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The Taskforce began by outlining the decision to move to the yellow stage of the COVID-19 Alert level Traffic Light System until at least 80% of individuals aged 40 and above had received the booster shot, following approval from the Government Executive Committee. This was to safeguard public health amidst the spread of the highly infectious delta variant around the world.
Dr. Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and member of the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), also noted that the interval dosing between the second dose of Sinopharm and a booster shot was reduced to 1 month for individuals aged 40 and above, effective from 31 August 2021. During this time eligible individuals will lose their full vaccination status on the ‘BeAware Bahrain’ app until they receive their booster shot.
Dr. Al Manea affirmed that the Traffic Light System would return to a full reliance on average positivity rates upon vaccinating 80% of eligible adults with the booster shot, and underlined the importance of getting vaccinated as scheduled.
For his part, Lt. Col. Doctor Manaf Al Qahtani, Infectious Disease Consultant and Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating COVID-19, added that today’s decision aims to protect vulnerable populations. He added it was to encourage an uptake in vaccination, to maximize immunity and reduce the risk of infection. Only 0.05%, or 71 of the 131,192 individuals who have received the booster shot had become infected and no one had been hospitalized after 14 days of receiving the booster dose.
Dr. Jameela Al Salman, Consultant of Infectious Diseases and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex and Member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating COVID-19, reaffirmed the importance of taking the booster shot, particularly for vulnerable groups and individuals aged 40 and above, noting that booster doses are safe and produce no serious side-effects.