Muscat, Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Saidi, Minister of Health, has underscored the significance of keeping guards against Covid-19. While describing the epidemiological situation in the Sultanate of Oman as “comfortable and reassuring”, the minister advised citizens and residents to continue applying precautionary measures against the virus which, he said, has not yet disappeared from the world.

The lurking virus is developing new variants in European countries, Dr. Ahmed cautioned.

The minister, who is a member of the Supreme Committee tasked with tacking developments resulting from coronavirus (Covid-19), valued the continuous support of His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik to the health sector and the Royal directives His Majesty continues to give to the Supreme Committee.

The minister made the statement during the 27thpress conference of the Supreme Covid-19 Committee held at the Education Ministry today.

Dr. Ahmed received the third dose of Covid-19 vaccination in a bid to show concern for segments of society that are most vulnerable to the virus.

The minister said that the Health Ministry’s Technical Team set standards for administering the third dose of Covid-19 vaccination after six months from the second dose due to the decline in antibodies. The third dose, he explained, will be given to frontline workers and patients suffering from chronic diseases. The minister added that the third dose is not a mere booster: It is necessary for those afflicted with chronic diseases or those who receive treatments that weaken immunity like cancer and HIV patience.

The decision to ban group events is still valid, said the minister, who urged walis and the departments concerned to take necessary action (in case of breach) as defined by the Supreme Committee.

The minister pointed out that the Supreme Committee is following up the situation locally, regionally and internationally due to concerns of a probable new wave of infection, which indeed happened in some countries in the world.

Dr. Ahmed ruled out any likelihood, for the time being, of shutting down airports or suspending air flights from any destination. He said that the Sultanate of Oman put in a request to exempt GCC citizens from PCR test during the last meeting held in the Kingdom of Bahrain. So far, no consensus has been reached, but Oman strives to find a way out to endorse this request due to the GCC countries’ vicinity.

A working team has been formed for each governorate to follow up vaccination in the educational sector, said the minister, adding that no exemption from the second dose will be granted to those aged above 12 years.

In reply to a query, the minister said that any person who got two doses of any vaccine will be given Pfizer vaccine for the third dose. If that person wishes to take the third dose from AstraZeneca, he or she has to take technical consultancy before that.

Dr. Ahmed said that Covid-19 examinations in the Sultanate of Oman’s health establishments are of two types: a quick test whose results appear after 4 hours, and another one whose results come out after 12 to 16 hours. The Ministry of Health is following up the situation for a reduction of vaccine prices.

Meanwhile Dr. Amal Said Al Maani, Director of Infection Surveillance and Control at the Ministry of Health, spoke about challenges in the battle to stem the virus, curb its spread and prevent the ability of variants to mutate.

Dr. Amal said that third dose of Covid-19 vaccination will be administered to specific segments that meet certain conditions for such a dose.

Specialists, among them pediatricians and public health physicians, indicate that children’s wearing face masks has no side-effects. They also affirm that the efficacy of the vaccine for children aged 5 to 12 years is the same as the efficacy of the same for adults.

According to the (laboratory) third experiments of Pfizer company, no serious complications have been registered.

On his turn, Brig. Mohammed Nassir Al Kindi, Director General of Operations, Royal Oman Police (ROP), has affirmed that the ROP will continue implementing the Supreme Committee’s decision and that its personnel are deployed in all locations to ensure abidance by the announced precautionary measures. Still, some individuals do not abide with the decisions.

Source: Oman News Agency