UAE authorises emergency use of COVID19 vaccine for members of first line of defence

Photo: WAM

Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, announced that the UAE has authorised the emergency use of the Covid19 vaccine; making it available to those first line defence heroes, who are most at risk of catching Covid19, protecting them from any danger that they may be exposed to due to the nature of their work. 

He stressed that this emergency use of the vaccine is fully compatible with the regulations and laws that allow a faster review of licensing procedures.

This announcement came at the UAE Government’s media briefing which addresses all developments related to the coronavirus. He confirmed that the UAE’s leadership has taken an integrated set of wise decisions to deal with the pandemic since the beginning of its spread in the country and has made all efforts to support the health sector by providing all resources needed, while supporting scientific progress to find effective and definitive solutions. 

He added that the spread of the pandemic around the world has caused great confusion and put health authorities in a difficult and testing challenge, as the greatest difficulty came from making crucial decisions that enable the health care system to deal with the new reality, enhance its ability to control and contain the virus and reduce deaths. Praise was given to the future vision of the UAE’s leadership to support the ability of science to overcome this exceptional situation.

Al-Owais confirmed that the results from the preclinical study, first and second phase trials showed that the vaccine is safe and effective. The third phase with a large number of volunteers is progressing very well. Studies related to the safety of vaccination were reviewed, and the process was carried out under the strict supervision of medical teams.

During the briefing, Dr. Omar Al Hammadi, the official spokesperson for the UAE Government, revealed the latest developments related to case numbers, while Dr. Nawal Al Kaabi, Head of the National Clinical Committee for Coronavirus and the principal investigator for the third phase of clinical trials of the Covid19 vaccine, provided a summary on the vaccine developments.

Al-Hammadi announced that the UAE is still at the forefront of countries around the world in the number of total examinations in relation to the population; surpassing 8 million tests since the start of the pandemic. It also announced the registration of 777 new cases of Covid19, after 61,084 new examinations were performed, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 80,266.

Al-Hammadi revealed that 530 recoveries were recorded, bringing the total number of recoveries to 69,981, and no deaths were recorded during the past 24 hours. Based on previous data, the number of patients still receiving treatment is 9,886.

Dr. Nawal Al-Kaabi said that the UAE hosts a number of advanced clinical trial facilities, such as the ADNEC Center, which is considered one of the world's largest field clinics for trials, supporting the participation of 31,000 volunteers from 125 nationalities.

Al-Kaabi indicated that the expected side effects were observed, most of which were reported as pain in the injection area, a feeling of fatigue and/or simple headaches.

Al-Kaabi said that the vaccine will be provided to individuals working on the first line of defence as this group interacts with those infected.

Al-Kaabi confirmed that the evaluation of the vaccine for emergency use was based on the criteria for qualifying approvals. This includes a number of key elements, namely, a declaration by the global health authorities of an emergency leading to a serious or life-threatening disease or condition – such is the case with the COVID-19 pandemic - and the availability of scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of the product intended for emergency response, the safety of its use, and the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks.

She added that the evaluation was carried out for emergency use, taking into account the target groups, product characteristics, preclinical and clinical study data, population study and all relevant available scientific evidence, stressing that the health authorities, in coordination with the vaccine’s developers, followed all measures to control the quality, safety and effectiveness of the program, from manufacturing to the vaccination system.

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