Pictured: first Dubai residents receive Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Inoculations launch across the emirate to boost the fight against Covid-19

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A pair of Dubai frontline health workers were among the first group of residents to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after it arrived in the emirate on Wednesday.

Asha Susan Philip, 45, a nurse with Dubai Health Authority, and Shamaa Alalili, 36, a Dubai Ambulance worker, received the inoculation at the launch of an extensive campaign to protect the public against Covid-19.

Ali Aladidi, 84, Asif Subhan, 37, a driver for Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority, and Adel Shukralla, 32, from Dubai Police, also received their first dose.

First receivers of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Dubai

First receivers of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Dubai

Dubai Health Authority joined forces with the emirate's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management and the Covid-19 Command and Control Centre to oversee the public health initiative.

The first vaccines will be administered to Emiratis and residents aged 60 and over, people with chronic diseases or disabilities, and frontline workers in sectors such as health care.

It is the second vaccine made available in the UAE after the Sinopharm jab was approved for nationwide use last month.

The mRNA vaccine was developed by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German biotechnology company BioNTech.

Instead of using a deactivated form of the virus, as the Sinopharm vaccine does, the Pfizer-BioNTech version contains a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognise the spiked protein on the surface of the virus.

The vaccine developers were the first to announce positive early results from a Phase 3 study that involved more than 43,000 volunteers. The results showed a 95 per cent success rate in preventing Covid-19 after two doses – administered 21 days apart – and no serious safety concerns.

The inoculations are initially available at six DHA clinics: Zabeel Primary Health Care Centre, Al Mizhar Primary Health Care Centre, Nadd Al Hamar Health Care Centre, Al Barsha Health Centre, Uptown Mirdif Medical Fitness Centre and Hatta Hospital.

The vaccine is free and people who meet the criteria can book an appointment by calling the Dubai Health Authority hotline, 800 342.

Residents will be asked several questions before inoculation, including their age and medical history.

Women will be asked whether they are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.

Should residents meet the eligibility criteria to receive the vaccine in its first phase, they will be able to book an appointment.