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Ahmed Al Shaibani volunteers for the Phase III inactivated vaccine trials in UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A number of Emirati healthcare workers have already signed up for the inactivated vaccine trials in the UAE. But what sets Ahmed Al Shaibani apart is that he falls under the category of people of determination.

Al Shaibani has not only volunteered for the vaccine trials, dubbed 4Humanity, but is also urging other other people with special needs to participate.

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“Involvement of all society members in such clinical trials is a national duty. The UAE community of never fails to respond to the appeal of the nation; I still remember when everyone chanted the national anthem of the UAE during the National Sterilisation Program to express their commitment and responsibility towards the nation,” he said.

Al Shaibani has been working with Al Ain Hospital as a call centre agent for two decades. And although he is exempted from coming to the office due to COVID-19 considerations, the dedicated Emirati continues to be at the office every day while adhering to all precautionary measures.

"When my father heard about the Phase III clinical trials, he wanted to volunteer. He got his first shot last month. I am very proud of him. Despite his special needs, he never stands back or gives up," Al Shaibani's son, Falah, told Gulf News.

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Ahmed Al Shaibani works in Al Ain Hospital as a call centre agent Image Credit: Supplied

The 4Humanity trials are for Phase III testing of a vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Chinese pharmaceutical giant, Sinopharm China National Biotec Group. In its first two phases, the vaccine has successfully and safely generated antibodies in all participants when two doses were delivered 28 days apart.

The trials in the UAE were kicked off on July 16, and are being sponsored by Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm, Group 42, through its subsidiary, G42 Healthcare. They are being overseen by Abu Dhabi’s healthcare regulator, the Department of Health (DoH), and the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, whereas the medical operations are being conducted by public health provider, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha).

Last week, the DoH announced that it had already enrolled the targeted 15,000 volunteers; more volunteers are still continuing to sign up even as G42 extends testing to other emirates and Bahrain.

Meanwhile, the first volunteers for the trials – DoH chairman, Abdullah Al Hamed, and DoH undersecretary, Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, received their second dose of the vaccine on August 5. They have reported feeling fine afterwards.