With its intensive efforts, the UAE is moving ahead in the global race to vaccinate the maximum number of people against the COVID-19 virus. In the week between February 4 to February 10, the UAE administered a daily average of 1.62 doses per 100 people, which significantly placed the country ahead of Israel which had an average of 1.23 doses per 100 during the same period.
Both the UAE and Israel were positioned ahead of other countries across the world. While Chile is at third with an average of 0.74 doses, the United Kingdom is ranked at fourth with 0.64 doses, followed by the United States at 0.47 doses. These figures have been compiled by the online scientific publication, Our World in Data.
The UAE leadership launched the national vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in December with the aim of immunizing more than half of the population by the end of March 2021. As of February 11, the UAE administered approximately 4.8 million COVID-19 vaccines to the public across the country.
In addition to this, the UAE leadership adopted a proactive approach with the aim of providing the vaccination free of charge to all members of the community. The UAE health authorities approved China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for public use on December 9.
Two weeks later, Dubai registered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as part of its vaccination campaign to initially inoculate vulnerable groups and frontline professionals. Last month, the UAE approved Russia's Sputnik V vaccine emergency use after carrying out a small-scale Phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine. Led by the Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the trial saw the participation of almost 1,000 volunteers.
This month, Dubai approved the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Days ago, the UAE received the first shipment of 200,000 doses from India. While this shipment is enough for 100,000 people, more orders are expected to arrive from India in the coming weeks.
Addressing a recent press briefing, Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, the spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), hailed the response from the public towards the national vaccination campaign. He further underlined the significance of getting vaccinated for protecting the health and welfare of the community.
"Vaccines are free for everyone. We all have to be responsible and accept the vaccine," he noted.
Last week, Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, also said that public response to the vaccine was higher and more positive than expected, affirming that the country could achieve herd immunity soon.
“We are seeing good progress on a daily basis," she said.
She also noted that a number of surveys are being carried to analyze the acceptance of the vaccine among the community, on the basis of which the campaign will be rolled out.
“We could see the level of acceptance from the beginning was good, which is higher than expected,” she added.