Coronavirus: UAE exempts vaccine trial volunteers from Covid-19 testing

Officials at the Ministry of Health and Prevention say people taking part in the trial do not need to take other tests

Volunteers taking part in the Phase 3 clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine are exempt from Covid-19 screening outside the bounds of the study, authorities have said.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention said those who have received the initial vaccine under the trial will not be required to take additional Covid-19 tests.

Negative Covid-19 tests are required for entry to Abu Dhabi but anyone signed up for the trial no longer need to do these, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.

“The Ministry of Health and Prevention, in co-ordination with the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, has exempted volunteers of the Phase III Covid-19 vaccine trials from performing any other Covid-19 tests outside the trial’s framework,” the department said.

“The Ministry also decided to use the Al Hosn app to identify volunteers so they can benefit from the exemption, and they are required to install the application on their smartphones.”

Officials recently said that door-to-door testing would continue until “the fight against Covid-19 is won”.

Abu Dhabi’s testing drive targets densely populated neighbourhoods, where residents are offered free Covid-19 tests as part of efforts to ensure all sections of society have access to screening.

Areas of the city including the Tourist Club, Khalidiya, Al Najda, Al Zafaranah and parts of the Corniche have already been covered.

Testing-teams will continue to knock on doors every evening to help safeguard the health of the public.

The World Health Organisation has recognised four clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines that have reached Phase 3 – one American, one British and two Chinese.

The trial being conducted in the UAE is for one of the two Chinese vaccines, developed by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and the pharmaceutical company Sinopharm.

The jab previously generated neutralising antibodies in 100 per cent of volunteers in the first two trial phases, according to Sinopharm.

If the UAE trial is successful, the vaccine will be approved for use among the public and manufacturing will begin to produce it at scale.

Nearly 5,000 people living in the capital and Al Ain signed up in the first 24 hours, the Department of Health Abu Dhabi previously said. Thousands more have since volunteered.

On Wednesday, it was announced the Phase 3 trial had been expanded nationwide, to include Sharjah.

Al Qarain Health Centre has capacity for 500 volunteers and will operate daily for walk-in registrations, screenings and vaccinations.

Volunteers must be in good health and between the ages of 18 to 60.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, who volunteered to be the first patient to test the vaccine last month, successfully received his second vaccine shot on Wednesday.

Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, acting undersecretary of the department, who is overseeing the Phase 3 trial, was the second man to sign up for the programme. He has now also received his second dose.

Volunteers must visit testing centres at least 17 times over roughly 42 days.

They cannot travel abroad during this time, and after the trial, they should be available for regular phone consultations for up to six months.

Anyone interested in signing up can register at 4humanity.ae or by calling 028191111.

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