UAE launches free Chinese COVID-19 vaccine to the public

A citizen receives a COVID-19 vaccine in the UAE on December 23, 2020. / CFP

A citizen receives a COVID-19 vaccine in the UAE on December 23, 2020. / CFP

The UAE has started offering free COVID-19 vaccinations with a Chinese vaccine to all citizens and residents, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The move came after the vaccine, developed by China’s Sinopharm, was officially approved and registered in the Gulf state earlier this month. It was found to be 86% effective against the new coronavirus.

That registration “paves the way for full protection of the population and responsible opening up of the economy,” reported the UAE state news agency WAM.

Free vaccination is available in public and private clinics, as well as field hospitals in the UAE, from Wednesday. While vaccines are distributed by age and vulnerability in other countries, the UAE “has expanded access to all adults across the population of 1 million citizens and more than 8 million foreign residents,” he said.

Health authorities have released a list of places in the UAE where shots are offered.

Although Dubai has so far only one public place for vaccinations, Abu Dhabi and other emirates have “more state-run health centers and private sector hospitals and clinics are delivering the blow,” the Financial Times reported.

In September, the UAE authorized the emergency use of the vaccine developed by Sinopharm for frontline healthcare workers.

Ministers and senior officials who also received the blow include UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahyan .