6 Covid-19 vaccines in UAE: Efficacy rates, technology explained

New Sinopharm vaccine to be given as booster dose in the Emirates


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 28 Dec 2021, 1:13 PM

With the UAE approving Sinopharm CNBG's new recombinant protein vaccine for emergency use, the country now has six types of jabs that are administered for free to Emiratis and expats.

The UAE has the world’s highest vaccination rate, with 100 per cent of all eligible residents protected against Covid-19. Close to 92 per cent are fully vaccinated. The country has administered over 22.5 million vaccine doses, with a distribution rate of 227.56 per 100 people.

Here is all you need to know about the six Covid-19 vaccines available in the UAE, their efficacy rate and the technology used:

1. Recombinant protein vaccine, Sinopharm: The vaccine will be available to residents as a booster dose starting January 2022. A study conducted in the UAE showed a seroconversion rate (efficacy) of up to 100 per cent in generating neutralising antibodies. No side effects were recorded among any of the participants.

2. Inactivated vaccine, Sinopharm: It was the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved in the UAE. It contains inactivated Sars-CoV-2 virus that has undergone treatment with a chemical called beta-propiolactone. This chemical binds to the virus’ genetic material and stops it from replicating and causing Covid-19. It has demonstrated an efficacy rate of 86 per cent against infection; and 100 per cent in preventing moderate and severe cases of the disease.


3. Pfizer-BioNTech: It was approved in the UAE days after Sinopharm. With an efficacy rate of up to 95 per cent in preventing symptomatic disease, it is based on the Messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. The vaccine delivers a tiny piece of genetic code from the Sars-CoV-2 virus to host cells in the body, essentially giving those cells instructions for making copies of spike proteins. The spikes penetrate and infect host cells. These proteins then stimulate an immune response, producing antibodies and developing memory cells that will recognise and respond if the body is infected with the actual virus.

4. Oxford-AstraZeneca: It was approved in the UAE in January this year. It has demonstrated an efficacy rate of 85 per cent. The vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) from chimpanzees. It has been modified to contain genetic material shared by the coronavirus, although it can’t cause the illness. Once injected, it teaches the body’s immune system how to fight the real virus.

5. Sputnik V: With an efficacy rate of 91.4 per cent, this vaccine was approved in January this year. It is based on adenoviral vector-based platform. Adenoviruses are a type of virus associated with the common cold and other illnesses. They serve as the delivery vehicle for the DNA instructions to produce the spike protein of the Sars-CoV-2 virus in the body. This then triggers the production of antibodies against this spike protein, preparing the immune system for a potential infection.

6. Moderna: It was approved in July this year. It has demonstrated an efficacy rate of 94 per cent at preventing symptomatic infection. The vaccine uses mRNA technology to build antibodies against Covid-19.

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