COVID-19 vaccination drives across the GCC: How do they compare?

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Across the GCC, Gulf nations are ramping up their vaccination drives against COVID-19, as they set themselves the task of accelerating the number of inoculations administered across their countries.

But how do the nations compare?

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With more than four million doses administered across the Emirates, the UAE is a leader in the GCC – and the world – with its vaccination program.

The country has so far approved the Sputnik V, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Sinopharm vaccines.

The UAE has also been building up its capacity to create and manufacture their own homegrown vaccine to battle coronavirus, according to the official spokesperson for the country’s health sector, Dr Farida al-Hosani.

The Emirate’s inoculation drive is now operating from over 100 different sites across the UAE.

In Dubai alone, the health authorities are on track to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to 100 percent of its adult population by the fourth quarter of 2021, according to state news agency WAM.

Across the Emirates, the UAE has administered the second-largest number of doses per capita in the world. By Tuesday, February 9, 2011, the country had reported 316,875 cases, and 293,180 recoveries. A total of 888 people in the Emirates have died from the virus.

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)

Saudi Arabia

In the vaccination race, the GCC’s largest country Saudi Arabia was the first Arab nation to administer the Pfizer vaccine, with a further three million doses scheduled to arrive by May 2021, despite a global shortage. It also has three vaccines approved; with AstraZeneca and Moderna jabs available for general use.

Saudi Arabia’s Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University has also started the first phase of clinical trials, supported by the Ministry of Education, to produce a COVID-19 vaccine, after it finished laboratory experiments proving its effectiveness.

With the Health Ministry spokesperson, Dr Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly saying last month that the aim was to provide the vaccine to all and build herd immunity in the Kingdom, Saudi has so far administered more than 443,00 COVID-19 vaccines.

There are more than 30 (Tetamman) clinics available for coronavirus tests.

By Tuesday, February 9, 2011, the country had reported 370,634 confirmed cases, including 361,813 recoveries. With almost 12.7 million PCR tests administered in the Kingdom, more than 443,00 COVID-19 vaccines have also been administered to residents and citizens.


Bahrain is another leader in global vaccination figures, having administered 191, 406 doses, or equating to 11.66 does for every 100 residents. That’s according to the latest figures from the University of Oxford’s 'Our World in Data' tracker.

Like the UAE, Bahrain has approved three vaccines; Sinopharm, AstraZeneca and Pfizer. By Tuesday, the country had reported 108,048 cases, including 101,629 recoveries.

A woman displays her COVID-19 vaccine certificate in front of the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Center in the capital Manama, on December 24, 2020. (AFP)
A woman displays her COVID-19 vaccine certificate in front of the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Center in the capital Manama, on December 24, 2020. (AFP)


Kuwait launched a national vaccination program against COVID-19 on December 24. The country authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use, and in January received 200,000 doses of. It has also authorized the Pfizer vaccine.

The country’s Prime Minister was the first to receive the vaccine. A health ministry official said in December that Kuwait aims to vaccinate 80 per cent of its 4.8 strong population in 2021.

By Tuesday, the country had recorded 171,994 cases, including 162,120 recoveries. Last week Kuwait said it would suspend entry for non-citizens for two weeks as of February 7, following a spike in cases.


Oman also begun its vaccination drive in December, using the Pfizer vaccine, with the government aiming to vaccinate the first target group by mid-2021, the country’s Health Minister Dr Ahmed Mohammed al-Saidi said.

The country has received its first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is now approved for use. Oman says it aims to vaccinate 60 percent of its roughly five million people. The Health Ministry said the first phase of the vaccination campaign would cover 20 percent of the population.

It recorded 135,990 cases by Tuesday, with that number including 27,853 recoveries.

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In Qatar, the country has approved the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, and received its first batch on December 22. Qatar has also signed deals to acquire Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. The country registered, by Tuesday, 154,525 cases, including 147,033 recoveries. The country continues to have controlled restrictions in place to limit new cases, due to a gradual increase in recent weeks.

While they launched a free vaccination drive in December, there is currently no data available from the country’s Ministry of Health about the number of vaccinations administered among the public.

In December the country announced a first vaccination phase through to February, and the government said it expects to have enough vaccines to cover the country’s entire population in 2021. Reiterated during a press confernce announcement on January 28 by the Ministry of Public Health, the vaccination programs will prioritize those most at risk, said the ministry.

Read more:

Dubai on track to vaccinate 100 percent of adult population by Q4 of 2021: WAM

Coronavirus: Where to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia

Oman to receive first batch of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine within one week

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