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Updated 4 February 2021

Kuwait, a metropolis rich in cultural traditions and energized by modern wealth overlooking the pristine Arabian Gulf, still reels under the effect of the deadly pandemic. 

With the advent of the vaccination program, the country hopes to back to normal post-COVID life soon enough. Find out more about the Pfizer shots in Kuwait. 

How does the Pfizer vaccine work?

Among the available COVID-19 vaccines, there are four distinct types:

  • Whole virus (this can again be a weakened form or inactivated coronavirus).
  • Protein subunit.
  • Nucleic acid (RNA or DNA).
  • Viral vector.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 is a messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) vaccine. The vaccine carries genetic instructions that help the recipient’s cells to produce protein pieces that trigger immune system response. The response is in the form of the reproduction of millions of copies of spike protein, which stimulates the making of antibodies.

This is the same spike protein available in the coronavirus and used to enter the cells in the human body. If a sufficient number of antibodies are produced in the human body with the mRNA vaccine, they will prevent the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 from proliferating, thus protecting the recipient from COVID-19.

How effective is the Pfizer vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine works best with two doses, where the second one is registered 21 days after the first one. On administration of the first dose, the immune system is alerted, and post the second one, it gets a boost, thus providing the immunity to fight off the virus. Efficacy is 52% after the first dose and raises to 95% after the second jab. It takes around four weeks to build immunity after the first dose (could happen earlier).

It is, however, not particularly known how long the vaccine immunity will last. Insights regarding the Pfizer COVID vaccine’s long term effects are clouded as trials weren’t set up to answer the same. CEO of BioNTech Sahin expects it to be months or possibly even years before the vaccine recipient becomes vulnerable to COVID-19 infection again. 

Are there any reported side effects?

As far as safety is concerned, the Pfizer vaccine has an overall excellent safety profile, with its benefits outweigh the potential risks. Based on safety data collected from 37,586 participants enrolled in an ongoing phase 3 clinical trial, the most commonly reported side effect involves volunteers experiencing an injection site reaction (seen in almost 84% of those who received the vaccine).

So, if you are taking the vaccine, know that the injection site on your arm might hurt a little, show some redness, and get swollen a bit. You might also experience difficulties in moving your arm freely. Other known side effects of the Pfizer vaccine includes:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pains
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache

Severe reactions were rare, with four cases of Bell’s palsy being reported during the trial. However, there is no clear evidence that the cause of this temporary paralysis was the vaccine. Adverse allergic reactions are also possible. Hence, those who experienced any major allergic reaction during the first dose of the vaccine are advised not to take the second one.

Pfizer vaccination in Kuwait

On 13 December, Kuwait’s Ministry of Health approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19. Kuwait has agreed to import one million vaccines from Pfizer, America. 

So far, all of the vaccines that have been administered in the country are the Pfizer vaccine.

Who will get the Pfizer vaccine in Kuwait?

In the first stage, the vaccine will be administered to those who are more susceptible to the coronavirus and at higher risk:

  • frontline workers, including doctors and nurses
  • the elderly above the age of 65
  • and those who suffer from chronic diseases

Until the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine in the case of the following groups are confirmed, vaccination will be deferred for the following:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those with compromised immunity
  • Children under 16 years old

When and where to get the Pfizer shots in Kuwait?

Since Kuwait began its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on 24 December, more than 20,000 people have been vaccinated.

The country’s Minister of Health, Dr. Basel Al Sabah, pointed out that anybody who took the second dose will receive an electronic vaccination certificate, an “immunity passport,” that can be used as proof of vaccination worldwide.

Major vaccination sites for the national immunization campaign are the Kuwait Vaccination Center in Hawalli Governorate and the Kuwait International Fairgrounds in Mishrif.

Registering for the vaccination

While the priority has been given to priority groups of society, Dr.Basel and other health professionals encourage citizens and residents to pre-register on the Ministry’s website. Over 250,000 citizens and residents have pre-registered to take the jab.

Those who have registered will receive messages with details about when they can get the shot at the Mishref Fairgrounds. 

How much will the Pfizer vaccine cost?

Kuwait Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khalid al-Sabah has announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to all primary health workers and citizens alike for free.