20200716 covid-19 vaccine
The trial programme, titled 4Humanity, is exploring the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine developed by Sinopharm China National Biotec Group. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: A total of 109 frontline health professionals working with VPS Healthcare have volunteered for the Phase III trials for the inactivated vaccine against the coronavirus.

The volunteers, employed across seven hospitals in the capital, have undergone the necessary medical checks, and received the first shot of the vaccine, the private health care provider announced on Tuesday.

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The trial programme, titled 4Humanity, is exploring the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical giant, Sinopharm China National Biotec Group.

“Ever since the pandemic was reported, health care professionals have been waiting for a vaccine. During the last few months, I have seen many patients who have come to me struggling to breathe, and fighting other complications. Sometimes, I felt desperate at my limitation in helping the patient as we do not have a proper cure for the disease. [So] we are very optimistic about the UAE’s vaccine trial,” said Dr. Mohanad Motasim Mohammed, general practitioner at Medeor Hospital Abu Dhabi and 4Humanity volunteer.

Mohanad Motasim Mohammed

Mohanad Motasim Mohammed

“When SEHA had invited volunteers to participate in the programme, I wanted to be a part of it. We hope the clinical trial programme will be a success and would serve as a cure for this pandemic,” he added.

Gilbert junior Frias Soriano

Gilbert junior Frias Soriano

“The condition in the UAE has improved and the number of cases has declined significantly. But still, it is too early for us to say that the [worldwide] threat is over. We need a vaccine to get out of this. Millions of people across the world are still suffering, and vaccine trials held across the world are our only hope. Volunteering at the 4Humanity program is my way of supporting the clinical trial and continuing my battle against the COVID-19,” said Gilbert junior Frias Soriano, staff nurse at Burjeel Hospital.

VPS is one of the UAE’s largest health care providers.

Dr Lalu Chacko, medical director at Burjeel Hospital Abu Dhabi, said the group is expecting 500 of its staff members to be part of the trials. “We at VPS Healthcare have decided to extend our complete support to the UAE’s clinical trial initiative. It is encouraging to see that our health care professionals are voluntarily willing to be a part of the program. Our team will be registering for the 4Humanity programme in batches,” he said.