The UAE is effectively on its solution to vaccinating half of its inhabitants by the tip of March

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The United Arab Emirates are on the way to getting half of their population vaccinated against the coronavirus before the deadline they set themselves in late March, according to the country’s health authorities.

The little 10 million desert sheikh dome began delivering its vaccination campaign to the public late last year after making China’s Sinopharm vaccine available to frontline health workers and government officials in September. In terms of vaccination rates, the UAE’s national program is the second highest in the world after Israel.

More than 1.8 million people have already received the Sinopharm vaccine, which is available to all citizens and residents free of charge. That’s more than four times the US vaccination rate per capita. Developed in the US and Germany, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is currently being launched in Dubai and is currently in its first phase reserved for people over 60 years of age. existing health conditions and front workers.

A health worker shows a dose of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm Covid-19 in a vaccination center in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 13, 2021.

Khalil Mazraawi | AFP | Getty Images

Both vaccines require two shocks 28 days apart, and 28 days after receiving the second shot, patients no longer need to be quarantined, but must continue to wear masks and practice social distancing, as the country’s national emergency crisis and disaster management agency does did said

And while taking the vaccine is optional, it is highly recommended, according to NCEMA. Government employees in Abu Dhabi who choose not to take any of the vaccines are required to do a PCR test every two weeks.

“We are very pleased with the progress we have made,” UAE deputy minister for culture and public diplomacy Omar Ghobash told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Sunday. “Of course there are people who still get sick and sadly die, but overall we think we’ve managed to strike a balance between health and safety on the one hand and economic viability on the other.”

Sinopharm developers say the vaccine is 86% effective while the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is 95% effective, although some health professionals have expressed skepticism about the Chinese-made vaccine due to the lack of published data on its development and its Studies are available. In November, UAE leaders, including Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, tweeted pictures of themselves receiving the Sinopharm shot.

The vaccinations progress below the peaks in some cases

Since late December, cases in Gulf Land have risen in less than three weeks as tourists flocked to Dubai’s fully open beaches, restaurants and shopping malls. Although visitors may require a negative PCR test result before boarding or upon arrival, many suspect that a transmissible virus strain, first identified in the UK, is at least partly to blame for the large number of British tourists staying in the emirate on vacation.

The spike in cases – now averaging more than 3,000 a day compared to around 1,000 a day in late December – led the UK to remove the UAE from its “safe travel corridor” despite UK travelers being excluded from many countries for fear of the new strain of the virus . The UAE had successfully kept their case numbers below 2,000 per day for all of 2020.

The UAE has recorded 256,732 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 751 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. A record high was recorded on Sunday with 3,453 cases a day.

Women’s sunbathers sit on a beach in the Gulf of Dubai on July 24, 2020, while the Burj al-Arab Hotel can be seen behind it. After a painful four-month break in tourism that ended in early July, Dubai is paying off as a safe travel destination with the resources to ward off coronaviruses.

KARIM SAHIB | AFP via Getty Images

Still, it seems that the party city and regional trading capital Dubai will continue their vaccination campaign, at least for the time being, while keeping their tourism-dependent economy open.

The neighboring oil-rich capital Abu Dhabi was now much more conservative and required a number of negative PCR test results over a period of several days for anyone wishing to enter the emirate – including from other emirates in the country.

In Dubai, the wearing of masks is still required in all public places, with the exception of activities such as eating or doing strenuous exercise. The authorities remind residents of social distance. The emirate’s openness, which has gradually increased since the summer, was due to one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in March and April.

Until the New Year, the Dubai government allowed residents to hold gatherings of up to 30 people in their homes. Hotels that were once almost empty now have over 70% occupancy as tourists flee their own countries for reasons of normalcy and warm weather.

“You balance personal responsibility with an economy that needs to move forward,” Ghobash said of the country.

“Vaccinate the largest percentage of society possible” is the country’s goal, NCEMA tweeted earlier this month, to “gain access to vaccine-acquired immunity that will help reduce the number of cases and control the disease” .

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