The UAE’s exemplary handling of the coronavirus pandemic has carved a new template for healthcare management. It has allowed safe reopening of the emirates and enabled a sense of normalcy to prevail. In the meantime, an active mass inoculation programme has meant that more citizens continue to get their vaccine doses. As a matter of fact, the UAE has administered close to 15.5 million doses, which means it has vaccinated 74 per cent of the population with one dose and 64 per cent with both doses. In doing so, it has surpassed Seychelles, which has vaccinated 71.1 per cent of its population of 100,000. These figures, monitored by the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker, mean that the UAE’s the world most vaccinated nation — a distinction that does justice to its efforts in battling the raging pandemic.
The UAE has conducted what is easily one of the world’s fastest mass inoculation programmes. Doing so wasn’t certainly going to be easy at a time when cases had been surging. But its resolve shone through. What began with the elderly and those with special needs was soon made available to the wider public. The progress and speed were remarkable, especially at a time when lack of planning, vaccine wars and confused messaging were proving to be major hindrances in the inoculation drives in Europe. Stacks of vaccines were reportedly lying unused in the US simply because the accessibility wasn’t thought through. The UAE made inoculation its central project. And this no red tape, cutting the queue, operational glitches. Access was made easy and effortless, which drew residents en masse. The messaging, too, was clear. Vaccination wasn’t a choice, it was a social responsibility.
While the country began its vaccination drive with Sinopharm, vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca and Sputnik are also available today. Residents who have had their dual shots of Sinopharm six months ago can now get a Pfizer booster. On Sunday, it also approved the emergency use of Moderna, following clinical trials that have deemed it safe and qualified its ability to enable an immune response and production of antibodies against Covid-19. An mRNA vaccine, Moderna has an efficacy rate of 94 per cent, and is a welcome addition to the UAE’s inoculation programme. The UAE is one of the few countries that resisted a second lockdown, following the initial one in April last year. It reopened responsibly and has continued to impose strict rules and regulations around social distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene. Given that its most ambitious project — the Expo — is only a few months away, these rates of vaccination give us further hope that its astuteness will prevail over the crisis.
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