Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19 vaccine UAE: Kids 'likely' to get Sinopharm jab if ongoing trials prove safe

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi Filed on January 15, 2021 | Last updated on January 15, 2021 at 01.54 pm
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Experts report success of saliva PCR testing for children below 12 years old.

Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccines are ‘likely’ to be offered to children in the UAE if ongoing trials in China show positive results. Currently, the vaccine is administered only to those who are 18 years old and older.

Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, chairperson of the National Covid-19 Clinical Management Committee, said the existing norms would be reviewed if favourable data is received.

“Once further research is conducted and additional data is made available, we will reassess the validity of the vaccine for those under the age of 18,” said Dr Nawal, the principal investigator of Phase III Clinical Trial.

When asked if the vaccine could be given to those aged 15 and above, Dr Nawal clarified: “At this stage, we only recommend those over the age of 18 take the vaccine.”

Also read: Sinopharm offers 100% protection against severe infection

Meanwhile, the saliva PCR testing — for children below 12 years old in schools — has proven to be a successful project undertaken by G42 Healthcare, in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre and the Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek).

Dr Walid Zaher, chief research officer and vaccine project leader of G42 Healthcare, said saliva PCR testing is a rapid and non-invasive way to detect Covid-19, and plans are afoot to develop it further.

“This is a G42 project in collaboration with other entities. We can call it a very successful project. It will help detect Covid-19 in a less invasive way and target more people in less time. We are discussing with other entities how to take this forward to the next step and implement it as needed by the authorities.”

Dr Zaher hinted the ‘next step’ may include 12 to 18 years old but “it was not yet finalised”. He pointed out that the administration of saliva tests to different age groups is decided by the health authorities.

“The saliva test is a rapid and non-invasive way to detect Covid-19. How to use it is up to the health regulators. They decide when and how to use it. The usage in schools was done in collaboration with different entities responsible for education and health. We developed it and will co-develop it further with the entities,” Dr Zaher added.


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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