There has been a dramatic decrease in hospitalisation of Covid-19 cases amongst the age group of 60 and above, while more cases of the younger population have been reported to be impacted by the virus now compared to the first wave.
“The reasons are many,” says Dr Sulein al Khalili, Specialist in Microbiology at Directorate General for Disease Control and Surveillance, Ministry of Health.
She said while there is a need for more data analysis on the people admitted in the hospital these days, such as how many of them are healthy otherwise and the suspected complications suspected from the Covid infection.
“The sixty and above population have been receiving their vaccination, and they have been restricting their movements outside. While the younger population is exposed to the virus as they move around, more job related, education and entertainment.
When asked if the vaccination should focus on the younger age group, she replied, “That has already been in the plan. The elderly group got priority because of the underlying complications that are connected with the age group. Now the variants have made it possible to spread more rapidly whether there are risk factors or not. According to the availability of the vaccine, the groups will be vaccinated.”
Another recurring doubt the public has been thinking about is who should avoid taking vaccinations.
“As of now, there is no contraindication regarding any genetic cases or immune suppression of any kind. There is limited data regarding specific age groups. However, it has been said – less than 18 - AstraZeneca vaccine and under 16 – Pfizer vaccine. Even the data related to this is expected soon about younger age groups, safety and efficacy of the vaccine for these groups. The other factor is the use of vaccines during pregnancy. Here, too much data has been released on the vaccines that outweigh the risks in pregnant and lactating women. People suffering from genetic disorders are not excluded from the Covid-19 vaccination programme. In fact, internationally, the health authorities have been saying that people with genetic disorders are more at risk due to Covid-19, and so they should be prioritised. There is limited data on pediatric groups as well. The restriction is in place for people who have had allergic reactions to previous vaccinations that have the same components as Covid-19 vaccinations,” she pointed out.
In Oman, pregnant women have not been administered the Covid-19 vaccine so far.
“Concerning vaccination for pregnant women, Oman is still waiting for further evidence, and the evidence has to be registered and until the manufacturers give the green light,” she noted.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) the Covid-19 vaccines are safe for most people 18 years and older, including those with pre-existing conditions of any kind, including auto-immune disorders. These conditions include hypertension, diabetes, asthma, pulmonary, liver and kidney disease, and chronic infections that are stable and controlled.