More than 1.5m Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in UAE

Local distribution rate rises to 15.45 doses per 100 people

More than 1.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the UAE since the country began its immunisation drive last month.

Authorities publish figures based on the number of doses given and said 133,253 were administered between Wednesday and Thursday.

This increased the local distribution rate to 15.45 doses per 100 people.

This week, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said 250,000 people had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the UAE after receiving both doses.

On Thursday, a 97-year-old Emirati man became the oldest person to get vaccinated in the UAE.

Nekhaira Al Dhaheri received his first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine at Seha’s Neima Healthcare Centre in Al Ain.

“My father decided to join the rest of the family in taking the vaccine," his son said.

"We encouraged him to do so ... in support of the nation’s efforts to beat the pandemic and protect the community."

Before receiving the vaccine, Mr Al Dhaheri was assessed by a doctor to ensure he was eligible for the dose.

"I encourage the community, particularly senior citizens and residents, to take the Covid-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones," his son said.

The UAE's goal is to immunise 50 per cent of the population by the end of the first quarter.

China’s Sinopharm vaccine was authorised for nationwide use on December 9, after Phase 3 trials in the Emirates established 86 per cent efficacy against the coronavirus.  Wider tests conducted by the pharmaceutical industry indicated that the vaccine was 79 per cent effective against Covid-19.

Two weeks later, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is more than 90 per cent effective, was introduced in Dubai.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two does to be taken 21 days apart while the Sinopharm vaccine allows an extra seven days for the second dose.

The UAE recently stepped up vaccination efforts as case numbers rose over the past month.

On Thursday, 3,382 new cases of Covid-19 were reported – setting a new highest daily infection record for the second consecutive day.

The cases were detected after 126,625 more tests were carried out across the country.

Thursday's new cases raised the total number of infections to 239,587. At least 215,820 people have recovered to date with 2,671 patients more cleared of the virus over the past 24 hours.

Health authorities said three patients died of complications related to the virus, increasing the death toll to 726.

Active cases reached an all-time high in the Emirates with 26,423 people currently testing positive for Covid-19.

In early November, active cases dropped to fewer than 2,000. The rise in cases this month is thought to be the result of increased travel over the winter break.