UAE says Sinopharm generated coronavirus antibodies in 96% of children

Vaccine was approved for use in children aged 3 to 17 after trial involving 900 young people

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A coronavirus vaccine trial on young children led to more than 90 per cent of them generating antibodies against the disease.

Medics recorded only minor side effects after two doses of the Chinese-made inactivated vaccine was administered.

Officials set out initial results of the Abu Dhabi-based study at a televised briefing on Tuesday evening.

Noura Al Ghaithi, a senior official at the emirate's public hospital operator, Seha, said 96.6 per cent of children generated a good level of antibodies.

There were no negative side effects among children who received the vaccine, other than minor fever and arm pain, which fades very quickly
Noura Al Ghaithi, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, Seha

"There were no negative side effects among children who received the vaccine, other than minor fever and arm pain, which fades very quickly," she said of the trial, which concluded last month and included young volunteers from the royal family.

"These side effects are seen in any vaccine taken, such as against polio."

She said 29.7 per cent of children had arm pain, eight per cent reported headaches and only 3 per cent had a fever.

Mild fever and sore arms main side effects

"96.6 per cent of children developed antibodies against the virus, considered very high for this age group," she said.

"There were no infections [since the trial] among children who had both doses. We encourage all families to provide safety for their children by getting vaccinated."

Vaccination for adults and children remains voluntary nationwide, though various steps are planned to restrict unvaccinated people from certain places in Abu Dhabi, among other places, from August 20, 2021.

Pupils aged 16, 17 and 18 in the capital will have to be vaccinated to attend school in person when the new academic year starts later his month.

Other emirates have not yet imposed restrictions on public places or school.

This week, the federal crisis and emergency authority, Ncema, said Covid-19 decision-making had been devolved to each emirate to adjust according to the local situation.

Ms Al Ghaithi said that when adults were included, 72.4 per cent of the population had received two doses of the vaccine.

She restated the benefits of having the shots.

Between January 1 and July 23, eight out of 10 people who were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in the country were found to be unvaccinated, as were nine out of 10 who were sent to intensive care.

Al Hosn app is revamped

The country's main tracing app has been revamped with new features.

These include a new display showing if someone has been vaccinated and had a recent PCR swab test.

Speaking at the same briefing, Brig Khamis Al Kaabi, from the federal immigration authority ICA, said tourists and new residents who were vaccinated abroad will be able to upload their vaccine certificates from August 15.

This will be particularly important, as Al Hosn is expected to be widely used when Abu Dhabi introduces restrictions on unvaccinated people entering public places from August 20.

The app is also increasingly used for travel, with several airlines accepting it as official proof of PCR tests upon airport check-in.

Updated: August 11th 2021, 9:27 AM