What are the five Covid-19 vaccines available in the UAE?

Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine was the latest to be approved for use in the Emirates

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The UAE has made its nationwide vaccination campaign the driving force behind its efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since December, more than 15.5 million doses have been administered to the public.

Almost 74 per cent of people across the Emirates have received at least one dose, while more than 63 per cent are fully vaccinated after taking both doses of their chosen vaccine, according to latest figures from officials.

China's Sinopharm shot and Pfizer-BioNTech are by far the most widely used vaccines in the country, but there are five jabs approved by health officials.

The National examines the five vaccines powering the country's inoculation drive.

Sinopharm

A healthcare worker administers a shot of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to a man at the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara (Sikh temple) in Dubai on February 28, 2021.  / AFP / Karim SAHIB

China's Sinopharm vaccine was approved on December 9, providing the launchpad for the UAE's immunisation strategy. Developed by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group, it is available nationwide.

The inactive vaccine, which contains a killed version of the germ that causes the coronavirus, was approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation in May.

It recommended the vaccine for adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of three to four weeks.

A study conducted in Abu Dhabi, where the vaccine has accounted for a large number of Covid-19 shots administered since the start of the mass vaccination campaign, found it was 100 per cent effective against death, 93 per cent effective in preventing hospitalisation and 95 per cent effective against admission to intensive care.

Its overall efficacy is 79 per cent, said Sinopharm.

Pfizer-BioNTech

Pfizer-BioNTech was approved for use by Dubai authorities in December before being rolled out in Abu Dhabi in May.

At the time, the UAE said the vaccine could be given to children aged between 12 and 15 on an emergency basis. This move supported efforts by schools to return to in-person learning.

The vaccine works by introducing a molecule to cells, known as messenger RNA (mRNA). Two doses are typically administered at three-week intervals.

The vaccine is "highly protective" six months after the second shot, according to analysis of a continuing trial involving 44,000 volunteers, Pfizer-BioNtech said.

The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has an efficacy of 95% against symptomatic coronavirus infection.

Oxford-AstraZeneca

Dubai authorised use of the Swedish-British Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in February.

The vaccine is given in two doses, 28 days apart. It uses a similar method to the Sputnik vaccine, essentially tricking the body into thinking it has been infected with Covid-19.

The vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus from chimpanzees. It has been modified to contain genetic material which is shared by the coronavirus, but it cannot cause the illness.

Once it is injected, it teaches the immune system how to fight the real virus.

Oxford-AstraZeneca said clinical trial results demonstrated the vaccine had 76 per cent efficacy after the first doses, rising to 82 per cent following a second dose given at least 12 weeks later.

Sputnik V

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine was approved for emergency use in January.

The decision was made after the UAE staged a small-scale Phase 3 trial of the vaccine, involving about 1,000 volunteers.

The shot, produced by Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology, has been widely used to limit the spread of Covid-19 in Russia.

Sputnik V is based on two inactivated viruses called adenoviruses that normally infect people.

These have had genetic material added so that, once the vaccine is injected, human cells produce coronavirus spike proteins. The immune response to these harmless spike proteins provides protection, should the person be later infected with the coronavirus.

The vaccine showed an efficacy rate of more than 91 per cent in UAE trials.

Moderna

Health officials on Sunday announced the Moderna vaccine had been granted emergency registration.

Moderna’s vaccine, similar to the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, uses mRNA technology and contains genetic instructions for the cells to make the coronavirus spike protein.

The shot, with a 94 per cent efficacy, is among the most effective at tackling the coronavirus and keeping patients out of hospital.

Moderna is an American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company with a focus on vaccine technologies.




Updated: July 6th 2021, 8:12 AM
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