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  • Writer's picturePam King Sams

UAE approves emergency use of Covid-19 vaccine

Abu Dhabi - Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, announced that the UAE has authorised the emergency use of the Covid-19 vaccine; making it available to those first line defence heroes, who are most at risk of catching Covid19, protecting them from any danger that they may be exposed to due to the nature of their work.

He stressed that this emergency use of the vaccine is fully and completely compatible with regulations and laws that allow a faster review of

licensing procedures.

This announcement came at the UAE government’s media briefing which addresses all developments related to the corona virus. He confirmed that the UAE’s leadership has taken an integrated set of wise decisions to deal with the pandemic since the beginning of its spread in the country and has made all efforts to support the health sector by providing all resources needed, while supporting scientific progress to find effective and definitive solutions. This has made the UAE a world leader in research aimed at developing a safe and effective vaccine against Covid19 disease.

He added that the spread of the pandemic around the world has caused great confusion and put health authorities in a difficult and testing challenge, as the greatest difficulty came from making crucial decisions that enable the health care system to deal with the new reality, enhance its ability to control and contain the virus and reduce deaths. Praise was given to the future vision of the UAE’s leadership to support the ability of science to overcome this exceptional situation.

Al-Owais confirmed that the results from final stages of the third phase trials showed that the vaccine is safe, effective and resulted in a strong response through the generation of antibodies against the virus. Studies related to the safety of vaccination were reviewed, and that this process is carried out under the strict supervision of medical teams throughout the study. The health authorities follow all procedures for controlling the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

He the Minister of Health and Prevention stated that these steps are taken with the goal of preserving the lives of millions of people and providing health care for the infected.

During the briefing, Dr. Omar Al Hammadi, the official spokesperson for the UAE Government, revealed the latest developments related to case numbers, while Dr. Nawal Al Kaabi, Head of the National Clinical Committee for Coronavirus and the principal investigator for the third phase of clinical trials of the Covid19 vaccine, provided a full summary on the vaccine developments.

Al-Hammadi announced that the UAE is still at the forefront of countries around the world in the number of total examinations in relation to the population; surpassing 8 million tests since the start of the pandemic. It also announced the registration of 777 new cases of Covid19, after 61,266 new examinations were performed, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 80,266.

Al-Hammadi revealed that 530 recoveries were recorded, bringing the total number of recoveries to 69,981, and no deaths were recorded during the past 24 hours. Based on previous data, the number of patients still receiving treatment is 9,886.

Dr. Nawal Al-Kaabi revealed many developments regarding the third phase of clinical trials of the vaccine to combat Covid19, confirming that the UAE is taking further positive steps in the development process of the vaccine.

Al-Kaabi added that the UAE now includes a number of advanced facilities such as the ADNEC Center, which is considered one of the largest field clinics for trials, where 31,000 volunteers from 125 nationalities participated in tests. She noted that this number was reached in less than six weeks of opening the doors to volunteers. This reflects the awareness of the UAE community and its willingness to participate in such humanitarian initiatives.

Al-Kaabi indicated that simple and expected side effects, like any other vaccine, were observed, most of which were reported as pain in the injection area, a feeling of fatigue and/or simple headaches, no serious side effects were recorded which required immediate treatment.

Al-Kaabi stressed that the initial results of the ongoing study show that the vaccine stimulates the production of antibodies and that the vaccine has been tried on 1,000 volunteers suffering from chronic diseases and no complications were observed.

Al-Kaabi said that the vaccine will be provided optionally to individuals working on the first line of defense as this group interacts with those infected and the vaccine will be available for specific groups optionally as well.

Al-Kaabi confirmed that the evaluation of the vaccine for emergency use was based on the criteria for qualifying approvals. This includes a number of key elements, namely, a declaration by the global health authorities of an emergency leading to a serious or life-threatening disease or condition – such is the case with the Covid19 pandemic – and the availability of scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of the product intended for emergency response, the safety of its use, and the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks, in addition to the manufacturer’s request to authorize the vaccine.

She added that the evaluation was carried out for emergency use, taking into account the target groups, product characteristics, clinical and pre-clinical study data, population study and all relevant available scientific evidence, stressing that the health authorities, in coordination with the vaccine’s developers, followed many measures to control the quality, safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, including: determining the number of target groups, the dose, and the vaccination system, in addition to monitoring and reporting and providing information supportive of safety, efficacy and manufacturing.

At the end of the briefing, Dr. Omar Al-Hammadi asked to public to continue adhering to preventive measures in light of the prominent development at the clinical trials of the vaccine and the overall success of the trials to date which have been carried out by the scientific and health research sectors in the UAE.

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