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Take the shot, help UAE beat Covid-19: Vaccine volunteers

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 5, 2020 | Last updated on August 5, 2020 at 01.19 pm
 Coronavirus, shot, help, UAE, beat, Covid-19, Vaccine volunteers,

(Photo by Ryan Lim/Khaleej Times)

Couple Sujith Varughese and Meenu Mary Thomas are excited to be part of the 4humanity programme, the ongoing Phase 3 trials of an inactivated Covid-19 vaccine.

Residents who recently joined the Covid-19 vaccine trials in Abu Dhabi are calling on others to step up and volunteer, too, to support the UAE's fight against the pandemic.

Couple Sujith Varughese and Meenu Mary Thomas are excited to be part of the 4humanity programme, the ongoing Phase 3 trials of an inactivated Covid-19 vaccine. Volunteering for the study was the idea of former nurse and now homemaker Meenu, and it was fully supported by her banker husband.

"Amid the pandemic, this was my first opportunity to do some service and assist frontliners. The more volunteers participate, the faster the research work will be the done and sooner the vaccine. It will help us visit Kerala and see our children who are studying there," Meenu said.

Meenu, however, had a medical history that had forced her to quit nursing, so the couple first ensured the vaccine would be safe for her. "I had tuberculosis in my brain. But the medical staff cleared me for the trial as my medication was completed 10 years back," she said.

On July 24, Varughese volunteered and took his first shot. As he experienced no side effects, he then allowed Meenu to get the vaccine on July 30.

'Impressive process'

The couple was impressed by the dedication of the local health authorities and how the staff patiently answered all queries.

Varughese said: "From filling out the consent form on arrival till you leave the facility, there is a dedicated staff with you. They will never leave you alone. They will check vital signs after every process. And once the vaccine is injected, you are under observation for 30 minutes. They will check for any possible allergies or rashes on skin. Once you are home, they will remind you about tele- and video-consultations."

Volunteers are also provided with a booklet where they can mark their vital signs and symptoms daily.

The couple has not experienced any side effects or fever since they received the vaccine, and they are ready for their second dose after 21 days.

Volunteers from all age groups needed

Another resident who volunteered, Sadique Ahamed, said he came forward as he felt the need to serve the country.

"As a resident, I am just playing my part so that we can be the first to develop a vaccine. I have made my life here. I feel it's my duty to serve this land and its people," said Ahamed.

Ahamed has nothing but praise for the encouragement provided by medical professionals running the trials. "Obviously I was tense, but the patience and care of the medical staff allayed my fears and anxiety."

Twenty-four hours after taking the vaccine on Monday, he said he has experienced no side effects and will be going offshore to resume his work.

He urged healthy individuals between 18 and 60 years of age to volunteer and support the UAE's fight against the pandemic.†"We need people from all age groups. Don't be afraid, take a step forward for the country."

Volunteers must have no serious underlying†medical issues and must test negative for Covid-19 to be eligible for the programme. Health authorities are aiming to have 15,000 participants for the trial.

Those interested†may register at the new walk-in facility set up at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) or log into www.4humanity.ae. They may also call the hotline number 02 819 1111 for any questions.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE CLINICAL TRIAL SITE

>A staff member will be accompanying you from arrival until you leave the facility

>They will check vital signs after every step in the process

>Once the vaccine is injected, you will be observed for 30 minutes

>They will check for any possible allergies or rashes on skin

>Once you are home, you will be reminded about tele- and video-consultations

> Volunteers are provided with a booklet where they can mark their vital signs and symptoms daily

(As told by Sujith Varughese, a volunteer)

ABOUT THE VACCINE

The vaccine being used in the ongoing trial in Abu Dhabi has been developed by pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm CNBG. It is the world's first inactivated Covid-19 vaccine to enter the third and final phase of the process. It has showed promising results and proven safe and effective during the first and second stage of trials carried out in China.

ashwani@khaleejtimes.com

author

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 whatís right and stand by what I believe in.


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