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UAE offering booster shot to recipients of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 19 - 05 - 2021

ABU DHABI — The United Arab Emirates is offering a booster jab to those who have received their initial two doses of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, the UAE's official news agency WAM reported citing the official spokesman of the country's health sector, Dr. Farida Al-Hosani.
Speaking during a regular press briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Al-Hosani noted that that the priority will be accorded to the elderly and those with chronic diseases.
The move appears to make the UAE the first country in the world to formally introduce the booster shot.
Lauding the success of the national vaccination campaign, she said 73.88 percent of all eligible groups aged 16 and over had been inoculated, with this number amounting to 80.33 percent for the over-sixties.
"More than 11.5 million vaccine doses have been administered to date at a rate of 117.23 per 100 people," she noted, adding that a policy to take an additional booster dose of the same vaccine six months after the second dose has been approved, and the UAE has carried out over 47 million coronavirus tests.
Dr. Al-Hosani further said that relevant authorities are monitoring the results of the national vaccination campaign, which proved that it has contributed to reducing the rates of hospitalization and use of ventilators while accelerating recovery and curbing the spread of the virus.
All types of vaccines must undergo strict testing and go through several assessment phases, including clinical tests, before their approval, she explained, affirming that relevant national committees are keeping pace with international updates regarding vaccines, which are being regularly assessed for full approval or emergency use according to the country's laws and regulations.
The UAE's health ministry has approved the urgent use of the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine for the 12-15 age group, in line with the vaccination campaign, which will support the national efforts to address the pandemic and protect this age group, reflecting the UAE's proactive approach to protecting the health and safety of the entire community, she stated.
She also stressed that vaccinating children, despite their low infection rate, is highly important amidst the gradual resumption of school classes next year, and parents should not be alarmed, as vaccination will help everyone feel safe and protect the health and safety of children.
"Expanding vaccine coverage allows us to provide vaccines to the biggest proportion of the population in order to reach herd immunity. It is important as children go back to schools. To parents, rest assured this vaccine will help us all feel safe and protect the health of children. It will reduce burden on parents who have children learning online."
Dr. Al-Hosani highlighted the fact that the country is keen to fully engage the community in addressing the crisis, by raising the public's awareness of developments and scientific facts related to COVID-19.
To ensure acquired immunity, community members should adopt a healthy lifestyle and follow the general guidelines of how to be in good health, such as avoiding smoking, staying fit, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and avoiding stress, in addition to adhering to all precautionary measures, she stressed.
"We urge everyone to get tested for their Vitamin-D level, and herein we stress the importance of Vitamin-D, Vitamin-C and Zinc, as they boost immunity and help the body fight communicable diseases, including COVID-19," she said.
"We thank all members of the community for showing a sense of commitment and ethical responsibility by cooperating and adhering to the precautionary measures, underscoring the community's cooperation with the national efforts to contain the virus and accelerate recovery. We recently registered significant achievements and there are still more achievements to accomplish in the coming period to maintain the country's gains. Therefore, everyone must cooperate to achieve herd immunity," she added.

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