Dubai approves Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to fight Covid-19

Shipment of doses arrived on an Air India flight on Tuesday

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Explained: How the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine differs from other shots

Dubai authorised use of the Swedish-British Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the fight against Covid-19.

The first shipment arrived from India on Tuesday. Images of the delivery were posted by Dubai Media Office.

Three vaccines are now authorised for widespread use in Dubai – the others being the US-German Pfizer-BioNTech jab and China's Sinopharm shot. The Sinopharm vaccine is also available throughout the UAE.

The first shipment contained 200,000 doses, which is enough for 100,000 people. More orders are expected.

AstraZeneca vaccine supplies land at Dubai airport

AstraZeneca vaccine supplies land at Dubai airport

The Oxford-AstraZeneca consignment was ordered from the Serum Institute of India, which makes the vaccine under licence using the name Covishield.

"We are happy to work with our friends and close partners," Pavan Kapoor, Indian ambassador to the UAE, told The National.

“The production capacity of India in vaccine manufacturing will be a contribution that will be used for the benefit of humanity.

"This is what our prime minister has said and it is something we are determined to follow through on. As far as the UAE is concerned, we are very happy to support a close and very special friend.”

Authorities said the shot will be available at this stage only to:

  • Emiratis and over-60s
  • frontline/vital workers
  • people with disabilities

All the above must be Dubai visa holders, and all shots will be given at One Central in the Dubai World Trade Centre site.

The UAE stepped up its vaccination campaign, with the country one of the fastest at inoculating its population. More than 3.4 million vaccine doses have been administered to date. Last week, Dubai's health authority scaled back the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech shots because of local and global shortages.

On Sunday, Dubai Health Authority said Emiratis and over-60s were being prioritised for the Sinopharm shot.

Approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine came as Dubai on Monday introduced new rules to curb the spread of Covid-19.

It cut seating capacity in various venues – including cinemas, entertainment and sports complexes – to 50 per cent.

Restaurants and cafes will be required to close by 1am and will not be allowed to organise any entertainment activities.

Any licensed venue classed as a "pub or bar" but that is not a restaurant will be closed immediately.

The UAE's daily Covid-19 infections climbed above 3,000 for the first time in three days on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed 3,310 new cases, bringing the country's tally to 309,649.

An additional 181,635 tests were conducted during the 24-hour reporting period, as authorities continue to step up screening rates.

Dubai vaccine roll-out – in pictures