Covid-19 vaccine in UAE: All eligible residents receive one dose in world-first milestone

Over 90 per cent of the country's population are fully vaccinated with two doses of the jab.


Waheed Abbas


Ashwani Kumar

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KT file
KT file

Published: Fri 26 Nov 2021, 4:15 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Nov 2021, 9:37 PM

The UAE on Friday registered a landmark achievement in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic — 100 per cent of its eligible population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.

The UAE second behind the British overseas territory of Gibraltar to achieve this remarkable feat. According to Our World in Data, the share of people who have received a single dose in Gibraltar is 120 per cent and the fully vaccinated population is more than 118 per cent. Gibraltar has a population of just over 33,000 compared to more than 9.8 million people in the UAE.

The UAE is in a league of its own as it is among the top 3 countries in the vaccine administration rate, offering at least a dose to the public and in conducting PCR tests per 1,000 people.

As the Covid-19 vaccine was rolled out globally, the UAE was among the first nations in the world to inoculate its residents and citizens free of cost with Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) on Friday announced that 19,694 doses were given in the past 24 hours. The total number of doses provided stood at 21.8 million with a distribution rate of 220.44 doses per 100 people.

“This is in line with the ministry’s plan to provide the Covid-19 vaccine to all members of society and efforts to reach acquired immunity resulting from the vaccination, which will help reduce the number of cases and control the Covid-19 virus,” the ministry said.

Till date, 90.18 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated in the country. The ministry has also conducted 263,429 additional PCR tests over the past 24 hours. The robust vaccination and screening drives have resulted in a steep dip in the number of new cases, with 70 infections reported and no Covid-19-related deaths. Also, 90 individuals had fully recovered from Covid-19.

The UAE has been part of the development of the vaccine from the very beginning. The ministry took part in the Phase III Clinical Trials of Sinopharm. Around 31,000 volunteers participated in the trials, including 1,000 volunteers with chronic diseases. Like other countries, the UAE initially approved the emergency use of the vaccine while the trials were underway as no unexpected side effects were detected. Frontline health workers were the first to receive the jab in mid-September 2020.

Dubai authorities were the first in the UAE to approve the US vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech for its residents in December 2020. Later, the UAE authorities approved Russia’s Sputnik V, the UK’s Oxford-AstraZeneca and America’s Moderna as well for the public. Additionally, Sinopharm and Pfizer have been approved for children.

The UAE’s leaders and royals led from the front with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, among the first to receive a dose of Covid-19 vaccine last year.

“We appreciate the efforts of the teams and worked hard to make our country one of the first to receive the vaccine for this virus. The future is always better and more beautiful in the UAE,” Sheikh Mohammed said after receiving the jab.

Moreover, Rulers of the other emirates and ministers also joined the initiative to encourage residents to get the jab. These include Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and Lieutenant-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; and Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention.

Later on, the vaccine was approved for teenagers and pregnant women too, after it was proven safe for them.

In March 2021, the UAE became the first country in the region to announce the production of the Covid-19 vaccine. Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42 (G42) tied up with the Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm to develop the vaccine in the UAE. Ras Al Khaimah-based Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar) is manufacturing Hayat-Vax vaccine.

According to Our World in Data, 53.9 per cent of the world population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Over 7.85 billion doses have been administered globally and 29.06 are administered each day. However, only 5.6 per cent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

The UAE through the Hope Consortium is providing a complete supply chain solution to facilitate the availability of Covid-19 vaccine worldwide and aims to deliver 18 billion vaccine doses by the end of this year.


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Thanks to this massive vaccination and screening drives, the UAE is back and fully open to welcome the world for mega events like Expo 2020 and Dubai Airshow, Adipec and Gitex.

“Dubai is back again, and the global aviation sector is returning through Dubai and the UAE. The world gathers with us in the Emirates to talk about its economy, future and culture. Welcome everybody,” Sheikh Mohammed said during the recently-concluded Dubai Airshow 2021.

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