4 Covid vaccines in UAE explained: What’s the difference and how do they work?

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on February 16, 2021
Photo by Ryan Lim

A top health official answered questions about Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Four vaccines have been approved for use in the UAE: Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V, and AstraZeneca. What are the differences? Are certain vaccines better than others?

Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector, on Tuesday explained what each vaccine does to a person’s body. She stressed that all these jabs are the same in a sense that they all trigger the body to produce antibodies to fight a Covid infection.

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“Many people focus on differences in vaccines and how they are manufactured and preserved. However, despite these differences, vaccines are similar in stimulating the body by producing antibodies, giving the necessary immunity in the event of exposure to the virus,” Dr Al Hosani said.

Here, she explained how each vaccine works:

>> Sinopharm

The Sinopharm vaccine works by using dead viral particles to expose the body’s immune system to the virus without risking a reaction. The vaccine stimulates the human immune system and forms antibodies to resist the Covid-19 virus.

>> Pfizer-BioNTech

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine works with RNA technology. This means that part of the virus’ gene code is injected into the body, prompting it to start producing the s-protein on the shell of the virus, triggering immune response.

>> Sputnik V and AstraZeneca

Both AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccine are based on a viral vector. It is placed on another virus called adenovirus, which is modified and then molecules of the emerging Covid-19 virus are added to it. The virus is considered weak but sufficient to produce antibodies.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for over ten years. For Khaleej Times, she covers NRI affairs, civil aviation, and immigration issues among other things. She completed her BA in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008 and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media at the American University in Dubai. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves food, and is mom to an over-enthusiastic Labrador retriever. Tweet at her @shootsprintrite.

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