Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine now available in all UAE health centres

Health authorities hope to encourage vaccination among at-risk groups

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A Covid-19 vaccine developed by Sinopharm is now available across all health centres in the country - after previously being limited to mostly government and some private hospitals.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention on Thursday said the vaccine was made available everywhere to encourage people above 18, and specifically the elderly or individuals with chronic illnesses, to get inoculated.

Developed by scientists at China’s state-owned pharmaceutical enterprise, the vaccine follows the tried-and-tested route of training the body’s immune system to detect and destroy viruses using injections of deactivated virus.

Health authorities in the UAE initially found the vaccine to be 86 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19. This week, Sinopharm said Phase-3 trials of the vaccine found it was 79 per cent effective against the virus.

On Thursday, Dr Hussein Al Rand, assistant under-secretary for Centres and Health Clinics, said people more prone to infection were being prioritised in the free, voluntary vaccination campaign.

The approved vaccine requires two doses. The first is taken following an assessment of the patient’s health while the second is administered up to 28 days.

Previously, the vaccine was only available at government clinics, some majales and hospitals run by the private company VPS Healthcare, as well as Mediclinic's Al Noor Hospital in the capital.