UAE surges to top of global vaccination race

Emirates administered more doses per 100 people than any other nation in the past week

The UAE forged ahead in the global race to vaccinate its public against Covid-19 in the past week.

The Emirates administered a daily average of 1.62 doses per 100 people from February 4 to February 10.

The figure placed it ahead of Israel (1.23 doses per 100) during the same period.

The two nations were ranked well ahead of the rest of the world, with Chile third (0.74 doses) ahead of the United Kingdom (0.64) and the United States (0.47).

 

The statistics were compiled by the online scientific publication, Our World in Data.

A major vaccination campaign was launched by UAE leaders in December with the aim of ensuring half of the population were inoculated by the end of March.

As of Thursday, the UAE had distributed close to 4.8 million doses to the public.

Authorities adopted a proactive approach to ensuring vaccinations are readily available, free of charge.

China's Sinopharm vaccine was approved for use for all members of the public in the country on December 9.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a collaboration between US pharmaceuticals company Pfizer and the German biotech company BioNTech, was registered in Dubai two weeks later as part of a phased campaign initially focused on vulnerable groups and key workers.

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine was approved last month for emergency use.

The decision came after the Emirates hosted a small-scale Phase 3 trial of the vaccine, involving about 1,000 volunteers, produced by Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

 

This month, Dubai authorised use of the Swedish-British Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

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

Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, at a briefing this week praised the public for their response to the immunisation drive.

He reiterated the importance of being vaccinated to safeguard all sections of society.

"The availability of vaccines is one of the biggest challenges of the pandemic," he said. "Vaccines are free for everyone. We all have to be responsible and accept the vaccine."

Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, said last week that vaccine take-up was higher than initially forecast, adding to hopes that the country could hit a level of herd immunity soon.

“We are seeing good progress on a daily basis," she told the event, organised by the Atlantic Council think tank.

"We conducted a couple of surveys to see the acceptance of the community and based on this, we rolled out the campaign.

"We could see the level of acceptance from the beginning was good – higher than expected."

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