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The first shipment of the vaccine has been received from India Image Credit: Twitter/Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Dubai Health Authority (DHA) authorised the AstraZeneca vaccine for use and included it in its list of vaccines currently available to residents and citizens at its health facilities.

The first shipment of the vaccine has been received from India, Dubai Media Office said on their official Twitter channel. The vaccine is produced by the AstraZeneca Company in cooperation with Oxford University and is manufactured in India.

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine is made from an adenovirus (it causes the common cold in chimpanzees), modified to prevent it from reproducing and causing infection. The vaccine is adapted to carry a part (DNA) of the coronavirus as a payload delivered to the cells in the human body. This will help trigger an immune response.

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However, it is different from the mRNA viruses because the Oxford vaccine uses double-stranded DNA and the adenovirus’ tough protein coat helps protect the genetic material inside. So the vaccine doesn’t have to be frozen.

Oxford Vaccine
Image Credit: Seyyed Llata/Gulf News

How many doses do you need?

There are two doses in the vaccine to be taken 28 days apart. Analysis from the clinical trials on recipients of two full doses showed that the vaccine could be 62 per cent effective in people of all ages. However, some reports also puts its efficacy at around 70 per cent.

How many vaccines are available in Dubai?

The AstraZeneca vaccine is the latest addition to the list of COVID-19 vaccines offered by DHA, which include the Pfizer- BioNTech and Sinopharm vaccines. The vaccines are being provided as part of Dubai’s comprehensive vaccination drive launched in December 2020.

Who can get the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine and where?

Dr Farida Al Khaja, CEO of DHA’s Clinical Support Services and Nursing Sector and Chairperson of the COVID-19 Vaccination Steering Committee, said the AstraZeneca vaccine will be available at the One Central Vaccination Centre for all Emiratis aged between 18 and 60 as well as people of determination and people with chronic diseases between the ages of 18 and 60, provided they have a valid Dubai visa.

To receive a vaccine at the One Central Vaccination Centre, individuals need to book an appointment through the DHA Contact Centre on 800 342, Dr. Al Khaja added.

She noted that the vaccine will also be available to frontline personnel and vital sector workers from both the public and private sectors at the vaccination field centre. Appointments for individuals in these two categories will be scheduled in coordination with the government departments and institutions they work for.

Are children eligible for the vaccine?

No, children should not be given the Oxford vaccine since its safety has not yet been assessed in people under 18. However, Oxford University is planning trials in children.

Does this vaccine also have to be stored at a freezing temperature?

Unlike the messenger RNA vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna, which have to be kept at extremely cold temperatures, the Oxford vaccine can be stored in a regular fridge, with temperatures between 2°C to 8°C. This makes it easier to deliver outside of hospital settings.

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Image Credit: Seyyed dela Llata / Syam Krishna / Jay Hilotin / Gulf News