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Jabs for children not mandatory as UAE rolls out COVID-19 vaccines for 3-17 age group
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 10 - 08 - 2021

ABU DHABI — The health ministry in the United Arab Emirates clarified that the coronavirus vaccination for the age group from 3-15 years is optional, not mandatory, adding that the vaccine approved for children aged three to 11 years is Sinopharm, while children aged 12 to 15 years can take either Sinopharm or Pfizer-BioNTech.
In a statement carried by the UAE's official news agency, WAM, the ministry made the clarification while listing out health centers that provide the COVID-19 vaccine for the 3-17 age group.
According to the ministry, vaccines are available in 46 health centers in the Northern Emirates, including 19 in Sharjah, 10 in Fujairah, 9 in Ras Al Khaimah, 4 in Ajman, 3 in Umm Al Quwain, and one center in Dubai.
While the vaccine manufacturing countries such as China, the United States, and Britain have begun conducting a study on the efficacy of the vaccine for this age group, the UAE is considered the MENA's first country to conduct such study, the ministry said in the statement.
The announcement follows the recent approval of the emergency use of the Sinopharm vaccine for this age group, based on the results of clinical studies, the strict assessment to approve the emergency use of the vaccine, and the local evaluation that complies with the approved regulations.
The approval for the vaccine comes as part of the UAE's efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus, and an affirmation of its proactive approach to ensure the health and safety of community members.
Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, assistant undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, and chairman of the National Committee for the Implementation of the Provisions of International Health Regulations and Prevention of Pandemics, said, "Over long decades, children in every part of the world used to get safe vaccines against several diseases and viral infections, and the way the Sinopharm vaccine works is the same as these vaccines work."
Al Rand made it clear that the decision, which was thoroughly examined, represents a significant step forward on the way to the recovery from the pandemic and immunization of the wider community. He urged families and parents to visit the vaccination centers along with their kids to get vaccinated.
He continued to say that vaccination will protect children and maintain the health of those around them, especially the elderly. It also contributes to achieving the required immunity to limit the spread of the virus. This comes in line with the recovery plan pursued by the UAE, which aims to get 100 percent vaccination of the target groups by the end of 2021.

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