Coronavirus: UAE health minister takes country's first dose of Covid-19 vaccine

Jab was approved for use last week following a series positive trials involving 31,000 volunteers

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The UAE's health minister has been given the first dose of a vaccine designed to protect the public from coronavirus.

Abdulrahman Al Owais received a jab that was developed in a testing operation between the UAE and China, on the same day the country tested more than 100,000 people in 24 hours for the first time.

The jab was approved for use last week after extensive tests found the vaccine to be safe and effective in preventing a person from developing Covid-19.

UAE health minister takes country's first dose of Covid-19 vaccine

UAE health minister takes country's first dose of Covid-19 vaccine

It was found to generate antibodies that fight the virus, which has so far infected more than 30 million people worldwide and led to the deaths to date of 950,000.

It will initially be given to frontline health workers in emergency cases.

In other developments:

- the UAE announced 809 new cases on a day that it tested 103,124 people within 24 hours.

- police arrested eight people for organising three separate weddings, in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, in a clamp down on large gatherings. No more than 10 relatives are allowed gather at any one time.

- people diagnosed with Covid-19 in Abu Dhabi will have notices placed outside their homes to inform their neighbours they are in quarantine and recovering

As with many other vaccines being developed across the globe, the Sinopharm vaccine is still to receive formal Phase 4 approval - the stage before it is declared ready and produced in millions of doses.

"By presenting this vaccine, we seek to provide all safety means for the heroes of the first line of defence,” said Mr Al Owais.

“We want to protect them from any dangers that they may face due to the nature of their work.”

He said the vaccine, developed by Chinese drug maker Sinopharm, fully complied with regulations after a series positive trials.

More than 31,000 volunteers were part of trials, including more than 1,000 people with underlying health conditions.

Those taking part in the study only reported mild symptoms such as a sore throat, a similar response seen in those who take the annual seasonal flu vaccine.

Sinopharm conducted phases 1 and 2 of the trials in China and the third stage in Abu Dhabi, and later in Bahrain and Jordan.

Clarification: This article originally stated that a total of 150,000 people in Abu Dhabi had been through quarantine since the start of the outbreak, based on figures from Department of Health - Abu Dhabi. The department asked us to clarify this is not the case and the figures that it provided were inaccurate. 

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