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Updated 20 January 2021

In November of last year, the medical authorities of the small island kingdom of Bahrain had approved the Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use. Soon after, Bahrain became only the second country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine following the United Kingdom. 

The early approval of the vaccines means Bahrain is among the world’s leaders in terms of inoculating its citizens. So far, Bahrain has vaccinated around eight percent of its total population, making it the country with the third-highest rate of vaccinations per capita in the world.

The Bahraini authorities have further confirmed their plans to inoculate at least 5,000 people per day with plans on gradually increasing the threshold to reach 10,000 people per day. 

We take a closer look at the Sinopharm vaccine, its results, price, side effects and more, as it is rolled out to millions of people.


How does the Sinopharm vaccine work?

There are currently three prevalent types of vaccines being developed in regards to COVID-19. In layman’s terms, these are inactivated virus vaccine, weakened virus vaccine and mRNA vaccine.

Sinopharm relies on the older but tested inactivated virus technology, which involves taking dead coronavirus and injecting them into the body. The process essentially forces the body to produce antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.     

Once vaccinated, the immune system will be able to respond to an infection of live coronaviruses. Antibodies can stick to and prevent the invading virus from entering the cells in the body. 


How effective is the Sinopharm Vaccine?

Based on the available data, the Sinopharm vaccine is reported to have 100 percent protection from moderate and severe forms of Covid-19. Its overall efficacy rate is 86 percent.

Dr. Walid Zaher, chief research officer and vaccine project leader of G42 Healthcare said that taking the vaccine will “prevent you completely from having any severe or moderate side effects from Covid-19.”

Furthermore, Sinopharm’s clinical trials have demonstrated that inactivated coronavirus injections do provide protection to people against Covid-19. However, there’s really no telling how long the protection will last. 

There may be a possibility that the level of antibodies would drop over the course of months. But on the flip side, there’s a chance that the immune system would retain information on the coronavirus for years (or even decades) due to the special properties of the memory B cells.


Are there any known side effects?

According to Bahrain’s National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus, the side effects associated with vaccination in volunteers include pain at the injection site, headache, high temperature or fatigue.

These symptoms are expected to last at most 24 hours. Furthermore, these side effects can easily be managed through the use of over-the-counter pain relievers. 


Where and when to get the Sinopharm shots in Bahrain?

Inoculation facilities have been set up at the designated health centres in the country. The vaccine shots are administered to Bahraini residents and nationals between 8:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. through the week, including Fridays and Saturdays.

Bahrain has also launched mobile vaccination units making home visits for seniors and individuals with special needs. Those requiring this special assistance can make the request during registration (more on this below).


How much will the Sinopharm vaccine cost?

The inoculation is available free of charge to all Bahraini citizens and residents aged 18 years and above.


Registering for the jabs

The health ministry has streamlined the process of booking appointments through an online registration form. The form allows you to choose which type of vaccine you wish to be given. Once you have submitted the form, the authorities contact you with the appointment information.

You can also register for an appointment through ‘BeAware‘- the country’s COVID-19 app.

However, the ministry has also declared that appointments won’t be necessary at the designated residential health centres in the country.


Latest updates on the Sinopharm Vaccine

The Sinopharm vaccine may soon be cleared for use in children and adolescents aged 3 to 17 before March. However, since children between the ages of 3 to 5 still have a developing immune system, the administering of the vaccine must be carefully and closely monitored.  

You can check the latest decisions taken by Bahrain’s government and health ministry here.