Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: Booster shots a vital next step in Covid battle

Filed on May 18, 2021

The higher immunity offered by the mRNA vaccines has been yet another reason why Sinopharm has received the short shrift.

It’s been a year since the pandemic, and yet mass inoculation remains a challenge for most countries. While faulty planning, mixed messaging and erratic implementation have proved to be major hindrances, the war over the vaccine acquisition in Europe has led to chaos and disruption at a time when the vision should have been aligned.

The UAE, on the other hand, has led by example. It started its vaccination campaign last year when the virus was raging, and was one of the first countries to offer the Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm jab, amid an environment of scepticism regarding the vaccine. Today, as more than 60 per cent of the population has been vaccinated, the inoculation drive conducted here has become one of the fastest per capita in the world.

The UAE has not only conducted clinical trials of Sinopharm on its soil but is also committed to manufacturing it right here. Now, the UAE has announced that it will offer a third booster to those who already received the jabs six months ago, making it one of the first countries to introduce booster shots. The introduction of Covid-19 vaccines has paved the way for vaccine supremacy. While Europe battled over acquisition of a percentage of doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, Sinopharm’s approval for emergency use by the World Health Organisation means that it can be made accessible to poorer countries through the UN’s Covax platform. The higher immunity offered by the mRNA vaccines has been yet another reason why Sinopharm has received the short shrift.

Today, with a considerable population in the UAE already being vaccinated against Covid-19, there has been a steep fall in the number of infections. The live events and travel — sectors that were badly hit last year — have received a lease of life. The inoculation has also made it possible for the country to not impose a second lockdown that could halt either its social or economic plans — something that many other countries have had to do in order to even the curve.

Sinopharm has been an important part of that project. With a modest efficacy rate of 86 per cent, it remains an important player in the vaccine race, and its low maintenance makes the logistical challenges seem feasible. In its dealing of the crisis that the pandemic has presented, the UAE has set an example by being astute about public health, while immediately tackling other concerns. The announcement only cements the fact that when it comes to the health and safety of its citizens, the UAE will not hesitate to take immediate tests.

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