UAE’s COVID-19 vaccine trials reach milestone of 5,000 vaccinated volunteers

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The world’s first Phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine for COVID-19 being hosted in the UAE have reached a major milestone with over 5,000 volunteers have now received their first vaccination.

The 5000th vaccination was given in the presence of Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, the Acting Under-Secretary of Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, at the recently developed purpose-built walk-in registration, screening and testing centre at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, ADNEC.

Dr. Al Kaabi was the second participant in the vaccination program and received his second shot this week.

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The thousands of volunteers who have now been vaccinated represent the whole range of nationalities and background in the UAE of all ages between 18 and 60.

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The trials began in Abu Dhabi on July 16 and are being managed by G42 Healthcare in partnership with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), , according to the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The inactivated vaccine has been developed by Sinopharm CNBG, the world’s sixth-largest vaccine manufacturer.

The ADNEC facility can manage 1,000 volunteers a day and is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm to allow the maximum number of individuals to participate.

A second walk-in center is also now operational at the Al Qarain Health Centre in Sharjah with a daily capacity of 500.

Spirit of volunteerism

Commenting on the enormous success of the trials to date, Dr. Nawal Ahmed Alkaabi, UAE Principal Investigator, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City CMO and Chairperson of the National COVID-19 Clinical Management Committee, said that the UAE reached the 5,000 vaccinations mark “faster than anticipated,” attributing it to “the winning combination of a national spirit of volunteerism and the strength of the UAE’s healthcare system.”

He thanked the volunteers and the clinical and administrative staff who “worked tirelessly to ensure this success and to make us confident of reaching our goal of 15,000 vaccinated volunteers in the weeks ahead.”

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The Phase III clinical trials follow the success of Phase I and Phase II trials conducted by Sinopharm in China, which resulted in 100 percent of the volunteers generating antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after two doses in 28 days.

The Phase III trials are open to individual volunteers aged between 18 and 60 living in the UAE and will last for six to twelve months, with the volunteers required to be available for follow-ups during this time.

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