UAE Covid-19 vaccine is safe to use, cleared for health staff

The vaccine will be available to the frontline workers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Phials of an mRNA type vaccine candidate for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are pictured at Chulalongkorn University during the development of an mRNA type vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bangkok, Thailand, May 25, 2020.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Phials of an mRNA type vaccine candidate for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are pictured at Chulalongkorn University during the development of an mRNA type vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bangkok, Thailand, May 25, 2020.

REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

The UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has announced an "emergency approval" for use of a Covid-19 vaccine that's being trialled here.

The vaccine will be available to the frontline workers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, a minister announced. This will protect them from any dangers.

"The vaccine emergency approval for use is fully aligned with regulations and laws which permit (an) accelerated authorisation process," said Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, during a virtual Press briefing on Monday. "The results of the first and second test phases (of the vaccine) showed that it is safe, effective and triggered the right response."

He noted that the emergency approval was granted on "meeting a set of criteria for this specific purpose, and working closely with the vaccine's developers".

Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, Chair of the National Clinical Committee for Covid-19 and Principal Investigator of the third phase of clinical trials of the inactive vaccine, said the clinical trials are "moving on the right path, with all tests being successful so far".

"In less than six weeks since the study began, 31,000 volunteers representing 125 nationalities have participated in the clinical trials. The side effects which have been reported so far are mild and expected, like any other vaccine, and no severe side effects have been encountered," she said.

Officials said the vaccine's evaluation was done "under a licence for emergency and limited use, considering target groups, product characteristics, clinical studies data, and all relevant available scientific evidence".

"The health authorities have followed all procedures to control the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine, in coordination with the vaccine's creators," said Dr Al Kaabi.

Phase III clinical trial of the Covid-19 inactivated vaccine was rolled out in Abu Dhabi on July 16.

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) had in July collaborated with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, G42 Healthcare and Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm CNBG - the developer of the vaccine - to facilitate the third phase of its clinical trials.

A team of specialist medical practitioners from SEHA has been managing the trials. All shots have been administered at dedicated centres equipped to accommodate the volunteers - both Emiratis and expats.

Volunteers are intensively monitored for approximately 42 days. They need to visit the testing centres at least 17 times. During this time, the individual is required to not travel outside the country and needs to have easy access to the clinics. After this, periodic follow-ups are conducted via teleconsultation for up to six months.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

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