Manama, July 29 (BNA): 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 Alert Level of the COVID-19 Alert level Traffic Light System, from Sunday 1 August 2021.
The Yellow Alert Level will be the lowest level able to be reached by the Kingdom of Bahrain, until at least 80% of individuals aged 40 and above who have had two doses of the Sinopharm vaccine have received a booster shot.
The move aims to safeguard public health amidst the global spread of the highly infectious Delta variant and was approved by the Government Executive Committee.
Dr. Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and member of the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), stated that the Alert Levels to be adopted, during this phase, will range between red, orange and yellow only, until at least 80% of individuals aged 40 and above have received a booster shot.
He added that after ensuring 80% of those eligible, who are 40 and above, are vaccinated with a booster dose, the COVID-19 Alert Level Traffic Light System will reintroduce the green level - red, orange, yellow & green levels based on positivity rates.
Dr. Al Manea also noted that the interval between the second dose of Sinopharm and a booster shot is to be reduced to 1 month for eligible individuals aged 40 and above.
Dr. Al Manea added that from the 31 August 2021, the vaccination shield of the “BeAware” application will automatically turn yellow for this age group (40 and above) to alert them of the need to receive a booster dose; the vaccination shield will return to green after they receive the needed booster dose.
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 the most vulnerable by encouraging an uptake in vaccinations, maximizing immunity and reducing the risk of infection. He added that 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 have no serious side-effects.