Chinese tourists first non-residents to be offered Covid-19 vaccine in UAE

Visitors on temporary visas can now get inoculated

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Chinese tourists who are on temporary visit visas are now eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine in the UAE.

The arrangement means Chinese visitors are the first non-residents to have access since the vaccination campaign began in December.

UAE authorities and the Chinese Embassy set out the move on Sunday night.

It follows a meeting in the UAE in March between Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, and Wang Yi, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister.

Under the programme, administered by the Dubai Health Authority, Chinese nationals over the age of 16 who hold a short-term visa without UAE residency will be provided with two doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.

The Chinese company's vaccine received approval by the World Health Organisation in May for emergency use.

Chinese nationals temporarily visiting the UAE can visit the official websites of the Chinese embassy and the consulate-general in Dubai for details.

China and the UAE have co-operated throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, sharing expertise, resources and technology.

A factory in Ras Al Khaimah already makes a version of the Sinopharm vaccine named Hayat-Vax. Production will soon move to a dedicated facility in Abu Dhabi and be ramped up, under a venture between Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi technology company Group 42.

The UAE government has already included all citizens and residents in its national vaccination campaign.

As of last week, just under 74 per cent of the eligible population was inoculated against the virus. That is expected to rise quickly now that children aged 12 to 15 are eligible.

By some measurements, the UAE overtook Israel to top the global vaccine drive last week, administering more than 120 doses of vaccine per 100 people.