A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken October 30, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Teens aged 16 years and above are now able to receive the Pfizer vaccination in Dubai, according to a statement issue by the Dubai government on Tuesday March 2.

The Dubai Health Authority has expanded the age limits for vaccination to 16 years and above for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and 18 and above for the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.

Previously only those aged 18 and above were able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Dubai.

It is now the same age range as the Sinopharm vaccine, which is also available in Dubai. The Sinopharm vaccine became available to children aged 16 and above in January 2021.

Vaccines are not generally made available to children at first as they are seen as 'vulnerable’ and hence were not included in the original vaccine trials. However, several of the vaccines are now running trials to include children as young as 6 years old in different countries around the world.

There used to be an upper age limit of between 18-65 years for the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, but this has now been expanded to all of those aged 18 and above.

The DHA said in a statement to Gulf News: “Pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children are currently excluded from some types of vaccines, due to insufficient data to determine any risks to these categories posed by the vaccine. Only limited data are available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including mRNA vaccines, administered during pregnancy.

“Should a sufficient amount of research show that the vaccine is safe for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children, the concerned authorities will study the inclusion of these categories.”

Vaccine now available to more people

This latest announcement from the DHA also stated that that all valid Dubai resident visa holders aged 40 and above can now register to receive COVID-19 vaccination at DHA facilities.

Furthermore, GCC nationals with a valid Emirates ID can also now get vaccinated at DHA facilities.

The targeted categories can book a vaccination appointment through the DHA App or DHA Contact Centre, which can be reached on 800 342.

With the new additions, the targeted categories include: all Emiratis (16 years and above), elderly residents aged 60 and above living in Dubai, all valid Dubai resident visa holders aged 40 and above. Valid Dubai resident visa holders with chronic diseases or in the people of determination category (16 years and above), frontliners and vital sector workers are also eligible to receive the vaccine.