Efficacy and Short-Term Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines: A Cross-Sectional Study on Vaccinated People in the UAE
Background: The emergence of COVID-19 has been a major challenge to public health and the world economy. During a wave of COVID-19, the usage of widespread vaccination procedures and broader coverage to the whole of humanity will be made possible if the general population has access. An intended effect of vaccination is to provide “herd immunity,” which protects those who have not been vaccinated along with those who have been. However, some concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines were raised. Aim: This study aims to provide evidence on the short-term safety and efficacy of four types of vaccines that are officially approved by the Ministry of Health in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These include Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca. Method: This study utilized a cross-sectional descriptive design. Data on the efficacy and short-term protection of COVID-19 vaccines on vaccinated citizens and residents (n = 764) of the UAE were collected between February and April 2021. Participants were conveniently approached using a Google Forms survey, where they responded to a semi-structured questionnaire pertaining to socio-demographic questions and in-depth questions related to COVID-19, including whether they suffer from any comorbidities, the most commonly encountered post-vaccination side effects, and the severity of their symptoms, using a 5-point Likert scale. Results were analyzed using SPSS version 24, calculations of p-values and descriptive statistics were used for data differentiation. Results: The majority of the participants (n = 612 or 94.4%) stated that they did not become reinfected after receiving two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, the incidence of being hospitalized after vaccination was negligible. In terms of adverse effects, the most common individually reported side effects, regardless of the vaccination type, included “pain at the site of injection”, followed by “general fatigue”, then “lethargy”. Moreover, most of these side effects occurred after the second dose of the vaccine, irrespective of the type of vaccine. Females were found to be more susceptible to the adversities of COVID-19 vaccination. The occurrence of side effects was not found to be related to the nationality/ethnicity of the vaccine recipient. Furthermore, none of the vaccines affected sleep pattern, since a significant number of respondents reported a regular sleep pattern after being vaccinated. The majority respondents who received two doses of vaccination (n = 585 or 76.6%) reported that they did not become infected post vaccination, regardless the type of vaccine received, whereas only (n = 11 or 1.9%) were reinfected with COVID-19 after 2–4 weeks. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that vaccines can offer short-term protection against COVID-19 reinfection. Moreover, both the first- and second-vaccination side effects were described as very mild to moderate, which indicates tolerability. These data may strengthen the public confidence in receiving vaccinations.
AlHamaidah, Mustafa Ameen