Dubai: Out of all the COVID-19 vaccines available in the UAE, is one better than the other?
Gulf News raised this reader query and others with Dr Farida Al Hosani, Department Manager, Communicable Diseases in Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre and Official Spokesperson for Health Sector in the UAE, who provided clarity on the matter.
Which vaccine is better?
Responding to the query, Dr Farida said: “There are multiple vaccines approved and all are effective against COVID-19 virus.”
There are multiple vaccines approved and all are effective against COVID-19 virus.
Fractional dosing for Pfizer-BioNTech?
A study published in the Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, stated that the first dose of the Pfizer vaccination is 85 per cent effective against coronavirus infection between two and four weeks after inoculation. Since the Pfizer-BioNTech shot is also approved for use here, would the authorities look into this study and consider fractional dosing to extend the supply of vaccine?
“The new scientific information in regards to number of doses will be reviewed by the regulatory body and technical committee and the protocols or guidelines will be updated accordingly,” Dr Farida said.
On whether the vaccine may be made available to children below the age of 16, she said: “Currently the vaccine can be given to everyone starting from the age of 16 years only.”
Vaccines against COVID-19 in the UAE
There are four vaccines in the UAE for use on eligible individuals against the COVID-19 infection:
According to the UAE government’s official website - government.ae, the UAE is offering these vaccines to its citizens and residents free of charge and on optional basis after ensuring that the person has no condition or symptom that make it inadvisable. Nursing mothers, pregnant women and children are excluded from COVID-19 vaccinations.
Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine
According to government.ae, on December 9, 2020, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) announced that it had officially registered the ‘Beijing Institute of Biological Products’ inactivated vaccine’, known as ‘Sinopharm vaccine’ which was developed jointly with Sinopharm - CNBG (China National Biotec Group).
Who can get the vaccine?
On January 17, 2021, the UAE approved the use of the coronavirus vaccine for teenagers aged 16 and above. However, priority is given to elderly citizens and residents and those suffering from chronic diseases.
Sinopharm vaccine requires two doses. The first dose is taken following an assessment of the patient’s health and the second dose is taken after a period averaging between 21 to 28 days.
Where can I get the Sinopharm vaccine?
Sinopharm vaccine is available throughout the UAE.
Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine
According to government.ae, on January 21, 2021, MOHAP announced its approval of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the UAE. The vaccine is based on human adenoviral vector-based platform. The vaccine was registered under the emergency use authorisation based on Russia’s Phase III clinical trials on more than 33,000 participants. The UAE also participated in the vaccine’s phase III clinical trials with more than 1,000 volunteers who received the first dose under the supervision of MoHAP and Department of Health - Abu Dhabi.
Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine was developed by The Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology and Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.
Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine
On December 22, 2020, MOHAP announced the emergency registration of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine and on the next day, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) started its free vaccination drive against COVID-19 using this vaccine.
Who is the vaccine for?
The first phase of Dubai’s campaign targets the following:
1. Emiratis and Dubai residents who are aged 60 years and above
2. People who are 18 years and above, and suffer from chronic diseases
3. People of determination
4. Frontline workers.
Vaccination consists of two doses, taken separately. The gap between the two doses is 21 days.
Dubai announced the arrival of the first shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on February 2, 2021, with the vaccine being authorised for use by Dubai Health Authority in its list of vaccines currently available to residents and citizens.
Who can get it?
The vaccine is available for the following categories:
2. Dubai residents who have a chronic disease
3. People of determination
2. Vital sector workers
How can I book an appointment?
For individuals who fall under the first category, call the DHA hotline – 800 342. Select the option for COVID-19 vaccine, and then select ‘Vaccine appointments’. You can then select AstraZeneca and schedule your appointment.
For individuals falling under the second category, appointments shall be scheduled in coordination with DHA and the relevant organisations.