UAE, Bahrain offers Sinopharm booster shot for ‘maximum protection’ against COVID-19

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The United Arab Emirates is offering a third dose of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for those who received their second dose at least six months ago, healthcare spokeswoman Dr. Farida al-Hosani said on Tuesday.

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The booster shot is part of the country’s “proactive strategy to provide maximum protection,” al-Hosani said in a press conference.

However, priority will be given to the elderly and those with preexisting conditions, she added.

“Vaccines are approved for full use or emergency use according to the regulations and laws adopted in the country, after evaluating their safety and effectiveness,” according to the spokeswoman. “The relevant national committees are constantly aware of global updates regarding vaccine development, and they are evaluated periodically.”

Nearly 74 percent of the total eligible group, individuals above the age of 16, have been vaccinated in the UAE, as of May 18. Meanwhile, a little over 80 percent of the elderly, those above 60 years of age, have been vaccinated.

The UAE currently offers Sinopharm, Pfizer, and Sputnik-V vaccines for residents and nationals.

Gulf neighbor Bahrain also said it would offer a third dose of the vaccine, at least six months after the second shot, starting with more vulnerable groups.

The World Health Organization, which last week approved the Sinopharm shot for emergency use, has said a large Phase III trial had shown that its two doses, administered at an interval of 21 days, had an efficacy of 79 percent against symptomatic infection, 14 or more days after the second dose.

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