Beijing: UAE has stressed the importance of international cooperation in accelerating the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The country has followed a cooperative approach based on the spirit of collaboration and adopted an integrated system for vaccine production and distribution, which is the key to meeting targets to boost global immunity.
This came through during the participation of Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, in the first meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation hosted by China under the chairmanship of Wang Yi, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister. Held via video conferencing and with participation of representatives from more than 20 countries, the forum aimed to link countries that develop and produce vaccines with companies and stakeholders, in order to promote equitable distribution of vaccines worldwide.
Al Hashemy said the UAE has been at the forefront of global efforts to combat the pandemic, in solidarity with the international community. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the UAE continues to disburse urgent medical supplies globally to support the efforts of various nations to contain the pandemic. To date, the UAE has dispatched more than 2,200 tonnes of medical supplies to more than 135 countries, particularly throughout Africa and Asia. The UAE also plays a major role as a logistical centre in the fight against COVID-19, through the Dubai-based International Humanitarian City, which played an integral role in shipping 80 per cent of total global medical supplies and preventative equipment in response to the pandemic.
The UAE has also supported the establishment of fully-equipped field hospitals (Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Field Hospitals) in Jordan, Guinea-Conakry, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Lebanon and most recently in Mauritania. These hospitals have contributed to increasing the capacity of health authorities in containing COVID-19.
Advanced logistical capabilities
Al Hashemy added that along with these efforts and initiatives, the UAE has also utilised its advanced logistical capabilities and transportation facilities and services to help expedite the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines around the world, including storage and handling facilities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in close cooperation with Etihad Airways and Emirates airline, thereby covering nearly 3.6 billion people around the world.
Speaking highly on the Hope Consortium initiative, Reem Al Hashemy expressed that it has provided nearly 65 million vaccine doses to 40 countries since its launch by Abu Dhabi in 2020. The Hope Consortium is one of the largest and most integrated logistical solutions to provide vaccines to the global community. Recently, the UAE has announced an in-kind donation of $50 million (Dh183.9 million) to the COVAX initiative to facilitate vaccine transport and delivery around the world.
Al Hashemy also referred to the UAE’s recent collaboration with China to host the first COVID-19 vaccine production project in the UAE, called ‘Hayat Vax’.