250,000 people in UAE vaccinated against Covid-19

The UAE is embarking on a major drive to safeguard the public

More than 250,000 people in the UAE have been vaccinated against Covid-19, health officials said on Sunday.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention said the number – about 2.5 per cent of the country's population – had received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine since a major inoculation drive got under way.

Authorities publish figures based on the number of doses given and said 1,086,568 had been administered so far across the nation.

The distribution rate is now 10.99 doses per 100 people.

Last week it was revealed Israel and the UAE led a worldwide league table for the number of doses given to the public.

The UAE officially registered China's Sinopharm vaccine for nationwide use on December 9 after Phase 3 trials established 86 per cent efficacy against the coronavirus.

Two weeks later, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was introduced in Dubai.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two does to be taken 21 days apart while the Sinopharm vaccine allows an extra seven days for the second dose.

Priority is currently being given to the elderly or people with chronic diseases.

A late-stage trial of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine is also under way in Abu Dhabi.

The Phase 3 study, the second of its kind in the emirate, was announced in December.

Initially limited to 500 volunteers, the trial is now open for people aged 18 years and above if they have not taken part in any previous trials.

Abu Dhabi residents who have not suffered any communicable or severe respiratory disease for the past 14 days can volunteer for the trial.

The UAE is at the forefront of global efforts to distributevaccines.

The UAE has also signed a deal to manufacture the Sinopharm vaccine locally in the coming months, in addition to securing three million ready-to-use doses from the Chinese drug maker.

Abu Dhabi's Hope Consortium – a storage and delivery centre based in Abu Dhabi – is also aiming to address a key concern over efforts to deliver vaccines effectively across the world.

Using its capacity to handle tens of millions of vaccines at a time, the consortium will store vaccines and deliver them in batches as required through Etihad and freight forwarders on the ground.

Vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech need to be kept at temperatures of minus 70°C.

With an estimated 3 billion of the world's 7.8bn population living in areas which cannot maintain a vaccine "cold chain", there are growing fears those most in need will not be vaccinated.