Abu Dhabi: A total of 674 children have so far participated in a study to determine the effectiveness of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in children aged three to 17 years.
The children participated with full parental consent in the immune bridge study, and will be among a total of 900 participants, the Abu Dhabi Media Office announced on Tuesday.
The UAE is the first country in the Middle East and North Africa region to study the impact of a COVID-19 vaccine on young children. The project is being undertaken under the supervision of the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) and the Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH). Other vaccine manufacturing countries, such as China, the US, UK and India, have also begun conducting clinical trials for this group over the past few months.
The study aims to monitor children’s immune response to the Sinopharm vaccine for children of different nationalities, in preparation to vaccinate children in the near future. Each child is being closely monitored, with their safety the most important concern of the study, health authorities announced earlier this month.
“Children are the cornerstone of any society and the future of any nation. As more and more people are vaccinated in the UAE, we want to make sure that our children are able to receive the vaccine safely. This is why when we designed the Sinopharm immune bridge study, we focused on ensuring all care is given to our young volunteers throughout the journey. We want both children and parents to understand every step of the process and also to know that we will be with them, supporting them, answering every question they may have, at any time,” Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, chairwoman of the National COVID-19 Clinical Management Committee who is leading the study, said earlier.
The study comes as virus mutations globally have led to an increase in the number of positive cases, including among children, and the severity of their symptoms. This includes transmission of the virus by children, particularly to people at risk.
Vaccinating children will protect them and preserve the health of those around them, as well as accelerate herd immunity needed to curb the spread of the virus. This is in line with the UAE’s long-term recovery plan, which is based on vaccinating 100 per cent of the targeted groups by end of 2021.