Bahrain approves coronavirus vaccine for frontline workers

The vaccine is also being trialled in the UAE

A salesman wearing a face mask, displays his goods after opening his shop in a traditional market "Local Souq", following the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Manama, Bahrain, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Bahrain has granted emergency approval for the use of a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine to inoculate frontline workers from Tuesday, state news agency BNA said.

The vaccine, nearing the end of Phase 3 trials in the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and Jordan, is a partnership between Sinopharm's China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 (G42).

The UAE in September gave the nod for emergency use of the same vaccine for frontline workers at high risk of infection.

Bahrain's Health Minister Faeqa bint Saeed Al Saleh said the use of the vaccine complied with the country's regulations on exceptional licensing in emergency cases, a statement carried by BNA said.

"The results of Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials showed the vaccine is safe and effective," she said.

The Phase 3 trials were going smoothly and without serious side effects, Ms Saleh said.

About 7,770 people have so far volunteered in the Phase 3 trials in Bahrain and have received a second dose, the minister said.

The final trial of the inactivated virus vaccine began in mid-July in the UAE, and were expanded to Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan.

G42 Healthcare chief executive Ashish Koshy last month said the vaccine had been administered to more than 31,000 people across those countries.

Several ministers and senior officials have already received the vaccine in both the UAE and Bahrain, including Bahrain's Crown Prince.

On Tuesday Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid tweeted a picture of himself receiving a shot of a Covid-19 vaccine.

"While receiving the Covid-19 vaccine today. We wish everyone safety and great health, and we are proud of our teams who have worked relentlessly to make the vaccine available in the UAE," he said on Twitter.

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