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COVID-19: Top Abu Dhabi officials feeling good after second UAE vaccine trial shot

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Abu Dhabi: The two senior Abu Dhabi health officials who received the first UAE vaccine trial shots have today received their second dose.

Both Abdullah Al Hamed, chairman at Abu Dhabi health regulator — the Department of Health (DoH), and DoH undersecretary, Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, have announced that they have faced no adverse effects during the ongoing trials, dubbed 4Humanity.

“After having the first dose of the vaccine, we felt no side effects at all. Today we will start having the second dose of the vaccine,” Al Hamed said.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Al Kaabi also confirmed that he has seen no untoward symptoms. “This vaccine is safe, and most people have had no symptoms so far,” he said, adding that he has to now wait 21 more days for his trial to finish.

Trials start

The UAE kicked off the Phase III trials on July 15, marking the world’s first Phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine.

The vaccine itself has been developed by Chinese pharmaceutical giant, Sinopharm China National Biotec Group, and has been proven to safely generate antibodies in all of the people who received two shots 28 days apart in Phase I and Phase II.

In the UAE, the 4Humanity trials are being sponsored by Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm, Group 42, and are being supervised by DoH and the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention. Abu Dhabi’s public health provider, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), is running the trials, handling all medical aspects and patient information.

Eligibility

The trials are open to all UAE residents aged 18 to 60 years, as long as they have not previously suffered from COVID-19, have none of a list of chronic conditions, and are not immunocompromised.

No need for PCR test later

“In order to conclude the scientific research phase, and to progress to taking the vaccine to market, we need around 15,000 volunteers. What’s great about this trial is that anyone who gets the vaccine will be free to move around the country without a need for the PCR test,” Al Hamed said.

Dr Jamal Al Kaabi gets a shot of the trial vaccine.
Image Credit: Abu Dhabi Media Office

Dr Al Kaabi also reassured potential volunteers.

First to get vaccine

“To those who are participating in this trial study, we say there is no need to worry at all. You are part of this trial. If the vaccine proves to be successful and approved for use, you will be one of the first people to get vaccinated,” he said.

In Abu Dhabi, residents can now walk in to a massive clinic set up at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec). Today, the first vaccine trial clinic outside Abu Dhabi emirate was also announced at the Al Qarayen Centre in Sharjah.

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