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Coronavirus

UAE considers making homegrown COVID-19 vaccine: Health sector spokesperson

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The UAE has been building up its capacity to create and manufacture their own homegrown vaccine to battle the coronavirus pandemic in a bid to support the country, and the international community, official spokesperson for the country’s health sector, Dr. Farida al-Hosani said on Tuesday.

“There has been a lot of expectation from the UAE of different stakeholders. Our leadership position is to provide as much support to international community. However, we are not a vaccine manufacturer and we are building up capacity for future manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine as well,” said Dr. al-Hosani during the panel discussion.

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She attended the ‘Lessons learned from countries leading in vaccine rollout: The cases of Israel, Bahrain and the UAE’ panel discussion on Tuesday, hosted by the Atlantic Council, to mobilize senior representatives from the three countries to discuss their vaccine rollouts.

“The UAE has been working during the whole COVID-19 period to provide aid and support to different countries through international collaboration. The UAE leadership has been trying to work out a balance between ensuring the availability of vaccines for our society and also working with the international community to ensure its availability to other countries,” she said.

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson of the UAE's health sector. (WAM)
Dr. Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson of the UAE's health sector. (WAM)

“We are engaged in the discussion with other countries on how to support with logistics parts of the vaccine as the UAE has a strong infrastructure, strong international connectivity and storage facilities. We are already a regional hub of many pharmaceutical vaccines for commercial use.”

The other panelists included the Israeli Ministry of Health’s Chief Nursing Officer Shoshy Goldberg and Manaf al-Qahtani, member of Bahrain National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus.

People sit as they wait their turn for vaccine trials in Abu Dhabi, UAE, October 6, 2020. (Reuters)
People sit as they wait their turn for vaccine trials in Abu Dhabi, UAE, October 6, 2020. (Reuters)

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“… Vaccination definitely helps revive the economy and we are aiming to reach a level of herd immunity through vaccination. This will support positively to our economy," she added. “Technology and innovation are definitely one of the main enablers of success of vaccination in the UAE. We conducted a couple of surveys to see the acceptance of the community and based on this, we rolled out the campaign. We could see the level of acceptance from the beginning was good, higher than expected.”

Al-Hosani also disclosed that the UAE has been working very closely with Bahrain, noting that they are working as one team from “the technical and political side” to deal with the pandemic. She added that the UAE has also been in discussions with authorities in Jerusalem to learn how to better manage the pandemic.

Read more:

UAE records over 3,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, seven deaths

Coronavirus: UAE vaccinates over 3 mln people as infections surge rapidly

Bahrain’s door-to-door vaccination campaign: All you need to know