'Help us end this': UAE leaders urge people to get Covid-19 vaccine

Rulers say nationwide vaccination will help protect public health and accelerate economic recovery

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The UAE's leaders encouraged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible to allow life to return to normal.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said important steps to control the outbreak have been taken but that vaccination was the way forward.

“Today, we are second in the world in the race for vaccination. The efforts of all those involved are appreciated and valued,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“My message to everyone is to hasten to be vaccinated to protect our health, our economy and our achievements.”

He said widespread vaccination would “accelerate the full recovery of our country”.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, thanked frontline workers for their "tremendous efforts" to protect the country's population.

He said that 1,275,000 vaccine doses were given to Emiratis and residents since the start of the campaign last month.

“We hope that with vaccinations picking up pace we will reach the point of full recovery in the shortest possible time,” Sheikh Mohamed said.

The UAE has authorised the use of the Sinopharm vaccine.

In Dubai, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is also available for use by over-sixties, frontline workers and people with underlying health conditions that place them at greater risk of serious illness.

Inoculations for the rest of the population are expected to begin in the coming months.

There are no charges for the vaccines and taking them is voluntary.

On Tuesday, health authorities echoed the leadership’s message, after the sharp rise in cases recorded in recent weeks.

During the country's regular briefing, Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the UAE's health sector, said the new, more contagious strain of the virus, which led to a surge in cases worldwide, had also been detected in the UAE.

“This was expected, but what is most important now is that we continue our efforts to protect ourselves against the virus,” she said.

She said researchers were working to learn more about the strain and how to best tackle it while health authorities monitored cases.

Above all, she said, vaccines are “one of the most important solutions we have available to prevent the spread of the virus and its severity”.

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