UAE a role model for vaccine rollout

The relentless effort the UAE has put into vaccinating its citizens is yielding results.

Published: Wed 17 Mar 2021, 10:42 PM

It will be delusional to assume that the epidemic is slowly burning out. Instead, the virus is only testing the resolve of countries and healthcare systems by mutating into deadlier variants. With the global infection rates of Covid-19 still on an upward spiral, it is clear that the only hope for humanity to break free from the pandemic is universal vaccination. One does not need to look elsewhere but the UAE for a textbook study of how an effectively rolled-out vaccination campaign can make all the difference in the fight against coronavirus. It could be a pleasant coincidence that the UAE’s National Vaccination Campaign has achieved its goal of vaccinating more than 52 per cent of the country’s population in the same week when the country has announced the Year of 50 to celebrate its golden jubilee starting next month.

Of all the incredible achievements that country will celebrate during a period of one year starting April 6, its successful vaccination campaign will definitely be the top of the charts. The country has distributed seven million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, according to Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health. It is no mean feat if we look at how many countries around the world are struggling with the mounting challenge of vaccinating their people, mainly because of their lopsided vaccination policies. The UAE got it right from the beginning as the country turned a challenge into an opportunity. Not only is it one of the first countries in the region to roll out vaccines for mass use, but the UAE also acted with a clear vision on how to achieve the target of vaccinating more than half of its population by March. Starting with frontline workers and elderly population, it kept expanding the vaccine deployment to cover residents of all age groups above 18. In addition to its 250 medical centres from where vaccines were distributed, the country also rolled out home vaccination programmes for its more vulnerable population. To hasten the vaccination programme, it launched a vaccine on wheels campaign to make vaccines easily available for residents. Nearly 8,000 people were vaccinated against coronavirus in a month.

The relentless effort the UAE has put into vaccinating its citizens is yielding results. The number of daily infections is hovering around 2,000 which is a significant dip from last month. As the health minister said, the figures demonstrate “outstanding efforts made by our health sector and frontline workers to ensure public health and provide protection to all community members”. What is even more commendable is that the UAE’s vision of immunisation goes beyond its national interest. It has positioned itself as a global logistics and distribution hub to facilitate an equitable distribution of vaccines to other nations in the region. Its world class airports and vaccine storage facilities will play a key role in helping deliver two million doses of vaccines this year. The political will and vision of the UAE in making vaccines available — not just for its citizens but for other smaller nations as well — gives the world hope that we can beat the pandemic.

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