Dr Jamal Al Kaabi
Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, acting undersecretary, Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, is the second volunteer to take part in the world’s first WHO-listed Phase III COVID-19 inactivated vaccine clinical trial in Abu Dhabi. He has had two shots so far. Image Credit: Instagram/@admediaoffice

Abu Dhabi: Hussa Al Mansoori has been receiving a call every other day to check on her health ever since she signed up for the UAE’s vaccine trials.

“There is a call every second day without fail, and kindly health professionals ask me how I am feeling, whether I have any swelling or vomiting, and whether my temperature readings have been normal. But I have been feeling completely fine, so the calls are thankfully just routine checks,” Al Mansoori, a 49-year-old Emirati IT executive, told Gulf News.

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Hussa Al Mansoori

Al Mansoori is one of more than 10,000 people across the UAE who have signed up for the 4Humanity vaccine trials, which pertain to Phase III trials for a vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical giant, Sinopharm China National Biotec Group. The vaccine has proved safe and effective in the first two phases of trials in China, and generated antibodies in all volunteers when received the shots 28 days apart.

Sponsored by Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm, G42 Healthcare, the trials are being supervised by Abu Dhabi’s health regulator, the Department of Health (DoH) and the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, while the medical details are being handled by Abu Dhabi’s public health provider, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha).

No more fortnightly tests

Al Mansoori received her first vaccine shot on August 2, and her most recent call from the Seha was on Sunday.

“I work at a government firm, so our temperature is checked every morning. The one difference, now that I am a trial volunteer, is that I no longer have to receive fortnightly PCR tests from my employer. The status on my Al Hosn app has also changed,” she said.

4Humanity volunteers can therefore travel freely across the UAE, including entering Abu Dhabi emirate, which otherwise requires travellers to prove they are negative for COVID-19 through a PCR test or a rapid DPI test.

“I suppose I could travel, but I am happy being home. My husband is also delighted, and he is hopeful that this endeavour will eventually protect me from COVID-19,” she said.

Al Mansoori’s second dose is scheduled for August 23.

Doctors who volunteered

Meanwhile, a pair of doctors who volunteered for the trials a little more than a week ago also reported doing well.

Dr Mohammed Elnaggar, 46, an Egyptian specialist urologist at Burjeel Royal Hospital in Al Ain, said he had had a teleconsultation on Sunday.

Dr Mohammed Elnaggar

“I was asked if I had a fever, or any other symptoms like breathing difficulties or headaches. I honesTLY had nothing to report, and I am simply waiting for the next dose on August 24,” he said.

Dr Sayyed Munir Pasha, 45, Indian specialist radiologist at LLH Hospital in the capital, got his follow-up call on Saturday.

Dr Sayyed Munir Pasha

“I haven’t felt different in any way. Work keeps me busy. My second shot is scheduled for August 21, and I believe they will check then if my body has generated any antibodies to COVID-19,” he said.

Meanwhile, the first two 4Humanity volunteers in the UAE – DoH chairman Abdullah Al Hamed and DoH undersecretary Dr Jamal Al Kaabi– last Thursday received their second vaccine dose. Neither has reported any adverse effects.