Bahrain urges Covid booster jab for Sinopharm recipients

Bahrain on Thursday urged residents who had been inoculated with China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine to take a booster shot as the Gulf kingdom faces a spike in infections.

Despite rolling out one of the fastest vaccination drives, Bahrain has reported up to 3,273 confirmed daily cases of Covid-19 last week and a record high of 29 deaths on Tuesday.

“We call on everyone to register to take the booster shot, which has a role in strengthening the body’s immune system through developing antibodies,” Jameela al-Salman, a member of Bahrain’s virus task force told a news conference Thursday.

She said residents can opt for a Sinopharm booster shot or a Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

Bahrain approved the use of Sinopharm late last year, months before the World Health Organization gave the vaccine the green light.

Manaf al-Qahtani, another member of the task force, said last week that booster shots would only be given to those who have had two doses of Sinopharm.

“It was shown that there is a group (of people) who may have been inoculated but are more susceptible to the virus than others… allowing a booster shot for those who took Sinopharm,” he had said.

Bahrain, which a population of around 1.8 million, has recorded more than 244,000 coronavirus cases and 1,031 deaths.

The Gulf kingdom, which opened its doors to visitors from neighbouring Saudi Arabia on May 17, said that gatherings and the flouting of health measures have caused the latest spike in infections.

According to official data, nearly 50 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, and most have received a Sinopharm jab. (AFP)