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Last updated 22 March 2021

The UAE has been cited as one of the successful cases in terms of the handling of the pandemic. The emirate has recorded low number of cases and coronavirus-related deaths so far.

With many understandably hoping that the inoculation campaign would spell the beginning of the end of the pandemic, we take a closer look at the vaccines, both currently available and under review in UAE, their efficacy, required doses and more, as it is on the verge of being rolled out to millions of people.

What’s the latest update on COVID-19 vaccine in the UAE?

There are four vaccines in the UAE for use on eligible individuals against the COVID-19 infection: one by Sinopharm, the other by Pfizer-BioNTech, the third by Sputnik V and the latest by Oxford-AstraZeneca.

Over 7 million vaccine doses have been administered in the UAE, as of 19 March, which translates to more than half of the Emiratis 52.46 percent of individuals being successfully covered under the country’s ambitious inoculation campaign.

 

How effective and safe are the vaccines?

Sinopharm: 

As per MOHAP, Sinopharm-CNBG’s interim analysis of the phase III trials of Chinese-made Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine, it has:

  • 86 per cent efficiency against COVID-19 infection
  • 99 per cent seroconversion rate of neutralising antibody
  • 100 per cent effectiveness in preventing moderate and severe cases of the disease.

Furthermore, the analysis shows no serious safety concerns.

Pfizer vaccine:

The Pfizer vaccine works with two doses where the second one is registered 21 days after the first one. On administration of the first dose, the immune system is alerted, and post the second one, it gets a boost, thus providing the immunity to fight off the virus.

Efficacy is 52% after the first dose and raises up to 95% after the second jab. So, it takes around four weeks to build immunity after the first dose (could happen earlier as well).

Sputnik V:

Sputnik V vaccine’s effectiveness against COVID-19 is confirmed at 91.4 per cent, while its efficacy against severe cases of the disease is 100 per cent.

Oxford-AstraZeneca:

Results have revealed that the vaccine was only 62% effective when participants were given two full doses, but its efficacy rose to 90% when a half dose followed by a full dose was administered.

How much does the COVID-19 vaccination cost?

Vaccines against COVID-19 are available throughout the UAE, free of charge for medically eligible citizens and residents, according to the priority announced by the UAE’s health authorities from time to time.

Vaccine priority list: Who can get vaccinated right now?

Vaccines will be administered to the following people on priority. They are eligible to walk into most vaccination centres and clinics without an appointment:

  • UAE nationals and their household workers
  • Senior citizens and residents (those who are 60 years old and above)
  • People of determination
  • People with chronic illnesses
  • Those working in the health and education centres.

The vaccine is now available to all eligible Emiratis over 16 years of age, as the six-week priority entitlement is now over. Note that it is mandatory for them to take appointments, as walk-in vaccinations are reserved only for the most vulnerable people.

Pregnant women, people with a history of convulsions, epilepsy, encephalopathy or mental illness, and coagulation dysfunction and those with a recent history of disorders like Guillain Barre syndrome or transverse myelitis will not be administered the shots. If you have a history of allergic reactions to vaccinations or have taken any live attenuated vaccine in the past one month, you too can’t take the jab in this drive. Individuals who had volunteered for the 4Humanity Phase 3 clinical trials will also not be eligible again.

Dubai, too, has expanded its vaccination program to include Dubai resident visa holders aged 40 and above. They can now register at Dubai Health Authority facilities to receive the jabs.
The DHA will also accept registrations from elderly individuals above 60 years of age with a valid resident visa issued in any emirate if they can prove they are residing in Dubai.
It has also lowered the minimum age bar of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from 18 to 16. The AstraZeneca shots can now be administered to people above 65 years of age as well.

How can I get vaccinated now?

Book an appointment with any one of the authorities:

The following is the detailed procedure and steps to receive the vaccine:

  1. Register via any of the above-mentioned sites
  2. You will receive a text with instructions and tips (if you meet the criteria)
  3. Make sure you read the consent form
  4. The centre will check your vital signs when you arrive
  5. You will receive the first dose of the vaccine
  6. You need to wait at the clinic for 20 minutes after receiving the vaccine
  7. You will receive an SMS 15 minutes after you receive the vaccine
  8. The SMS will provide details of your vaccination certificate and the appointment date and time for your second dose

 

Where to get vaccinated?

View the list of Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) vaccination centres in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE.

The vaccines are also available at several private hospitals across the UAE free of charge. View the list of SEHA’s vaccination centres here.