The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday launched the vaccination drive against coronavirus in the country, with three health centres offering free shots of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine to only selected group of individuals in the first phase.
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has said that Emiratis and Dubai residents, who are aged 60 and above, will get the vaccines in the first phase, which is being administered from Nad Al Hammar, Al Twar and Al Mankhool health care centres, as per Khaleej Times report.
Vaccine for all
Health authorities said that the availability of Covid-19 vaccines to all segments of the society is the need of the hour, especially amid a global supply crunch.
"Providing the Sinopharm vaccine is part of the DHA's keenness to ensure the availability of Covid-19 vaccination services to all segments of the community, especially the older age groups who are considered to be among the high-risk categories," said Dr Farida Al Khaja, CEO of DHA's Clinical Support Services and Nursing Sector and Chairperson of the Covid-19 Vaccination Steering Committee.
"In the first phase of the launch of the vaccine, the DHA's Contact Centre will reach out to those who already have pre-registered appointments for vaccination," Farida added.
Apart from the selected group, the Ministry of Health and Prevention is currently administering that the Sinopharm jab should made be available to others as well in future phases of vaccine roll out.
What do we know about Sinopharm vaccine?
Sinopharm is a Chinese made vaccine to fight the coronavirus. Sinopharm – a Chinese state-owned company – announced on December 30 that the vaccine showed to be nearly 79 per cent effective, much lower in comparison to Pfizer and Moderna ones, in the phase three trials.
But the UAE, which approved a Sinopharm vaccine earlier in January, claimed the vaccine to be around 86 per cent effective, based on the interim results of its phase three trial. However, other than UAE, several countries, including Pakistan and Bahrain, have also approved the Sinopharm vaccine.
At present, there are only two vaccines available in the UAE, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Sinopharm vaccine. Pfizer vaccines have only been made available to vulnerable groups, including the elderly population.