30,000 UAE Armed Forces personnel receive Covid-19 vaccine

Servicemen and women, civilian officials and national service recruits immunised under national strategy

UAE Armed Forces personnel, pictured in action for the Union Fortress military show in 2018, have received China's Sinopharm vaccine. Wam
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More than 30,000 members of the UAE's Armed Forces and national service recruits have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Brig Gen Dr Aysha Al Dhaheri, commander of the Medical Services Corps, said the campaign was key to safeguarding military personnel in the face of the pandemic.

The UAE approved limited use of a Covid-19 vaccination manufactured by Chinese drug maker Sinopharm in September after Phase 3 trials in the UAE.

It has since been administered to frontline medical workers, police, senior officials and members of the UAE Cabinet, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

“When the trial came we encouraged a large number of our population to participate,” said Dr Al Dhaheri at an online conference organised by the Ministry of Defence.

“We set up dedicated vaccination centres across the Emirates and the goal is to vaccinate all our military population.”

The conference heard that international co-operation would be key to the ongoing fight against the virus.

Dr Al Dhaheri said the Emirates was working closely with Israel on a Covid-19 breathalyser test capable of detecting cases in 30 seconds.

At present, PCR nasal swab tests can take at least a day to process in larger batches.

“Israel does have a testing methodology. This is something of interest not only to the UAE but to the world,” Dr Al Dhaheri said.

Mohamed Al Bawardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, emphasised the importance of agencies coming together, not only to tackle Covid-19, but as part of a broader goal to address crises and areas of mutual concern.

“Whereas the modern threats may not be confined to specific geographical areas, but rather extend across state borders, the importance of co-operation between states and building international alliances in the face of crises is therefore evident,” he said.

During the online event, the Ministry of Defence announced the launch of an initiative aimed at engaging young people in its work.

The We Innovate to Defend campaign will encourage the next generation to share their vision for how to enhance the nation's defence strategies over the next 50 years.

Details of the scheme and how to get involved will be made available on the website and social media platforms of the Ministry of Defence and the Federal Youth Authority.

UAE leaders receive China's Sinopharm vaccine - in pictures