Expanding Covid-19 vaccine production is top priority: Chinese Consul General Xuhang

Dubai - The diplomat praises the UAE’s emergence as a manufacturing and logistics hub for Sinopharm vaccine


Anjana Sankar

Published: Thu 27 May 2021, 1:56 PM

Last updated: Thu 27 May 2021, 1:58 PM

Expanding the production of Chinese vaccines is the “top priority” and the UAE as a manufacturing and logistics hub would push the goal to immunise more people globally, the Chinese Consul General in Dubai Li Xuhang told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday (May 27).

“China-UAE cooperation in producing vaccines in the UAE will undoubtedly provide more powerful means to carry out international anti-epidemic outreach. We look forward to the smooth implementation of this programme,” he said.

The UAE started producing Sinopharm in April with an aim to further accelerate its vaccination goals.

The Ras Al Khaimah (RAK)-based Julphar Pharmaceuticals has signed a contract with Abu Dhabi’s G42 to produce the vaccine.

The UAE has also set up the Hope Consortium – a global logistics centre -- in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, Etihad Airways, and Abu Dhabi Ports – to deliver billions of vaccines around the world. The Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance has also flown millions of vaccines through the Emirates Sky Cargo.

Xuhang said Chinese vaccines would benefit more people in various regions and make new contributions to building the global health community, thanks to the UAE that has emerged as the hub.

“Vaccines know no borders. They are the key to defeating the epidemic,” he said.

‘Covid strengthened the UAE-China friendship’

China and the UAE are a model of international anti-epidemic cooperation and both countries can together make a global difference in fighting the pandemic, the Consul General said.

From symbolic gestures like lighting up Burj Khalifa to rolling out Sinopharm vaccine trails and setting up testing laboratories, the China-UAE ties have only gotten stronger.

“China-UAE friendship has become more solid through the test of the epidemic,” he said.

“The launch of Spring Sprout Action in the UAE is another example of the close cooperation between our two countries,” said the Consul General while praising the UAE’s approval to administer the Sinopharm vaccine to Chinese visitors that got off to a resounding start in Dubai on Thursday morning.

Spring Sprout Action is a Chinese-government initiative to vaccinate its overseas citizens and the UAE has made an exception by allowing non-residents Chinese residents to be administered the jab.

“China and the UAE are undoubtedly a model of international anti-epidemic cooperation. We will spare no effort in promoting the global health community,” said Xuhang.

“Since the outbreak of Covid-19, China and the UAE have been helping and supporting each other and have carried out a series of close cooperation,” he added.

Xuhang said Chinese medical experts have shared their experience in epidemic prevention and control, testing, and treatment with their counterparts in the UAE in many cases.

“It took only 14 days for China and the UAE to build a Fire Eye laboratory with a daily testing capacity of tens of thousands of people in Abu Dhabi. The two countries also cooperated in developing the world's first inactivated vaccine to enter a Phase-III trial,” he added.

Over 35,000 people took part in the trial of the inactivated Chinese vaccine in the UAE, which, according to Xuhang, made “important contributions to global anti-epidemic cooperation by saving thousands of people”.

The UAE is the first country in the world to approve the mass use of the Sinopharm to combat the Covid-19 virus after a successful phase-III trial, which showed the vaccine is 86 per cent effective against SARS-CoV-2, which causes the viral disease.

The vaccine, created by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products is credited to have helped the UAE to become the most vaccinated country in the world. Its emergency use was approved in the UAE as early as September 2020, and on December 9 last year the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) officially registered the vaccine.

Photo: Juidin Bernarrd/KT
Photo: Juidin Bernarrd/KT

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