“An additional supportive dose of Sinopharm is now available for people who have already received the vaccine and who have now completed more than six months since the second dose,” the National Crisis and Disaster Management Authority tweeted on Tuesday evening. of the UAE.
The Bahrain National Medical Task Force to Combat the Coronavirus simultaneously announced “the opening of the registration of a COVID-19 booster vaccine dose for the most vulnerable groups in Bahrain, at least 6 months after the taking the second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine, for first responders, as well as citizens and residents over the age of 50, as well as those with obesity, low immunity or other underlying health conditions. “
The announcements come amid questions about the effectiveness of Sinopharm and reports of re-infections of Covid-19 in people who have received their two doses of the vaccine.
Earlier in May, the World Health Organization approved Sinopharm for emergency use, making it the first non-Western vaccine to get the green light from the organization. Developed by the state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (commonly known as Sinopharm), it is one of the country’s two main injections that have been administered to millions of people in China and elsewhere, especially in countries in development.
The UAE’s vaccination campaign, one of the fastest in the world, has relied heavily on the Sinopharm vaccine, available to all residents and citizens since late 2020. The vaccines Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca / University of Oxford and Sputnik V are also available in Dubai for several months, while the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, only offered its residents Sinopharm until it recently changed course to also offer Pfizer. end of April.
Mixed efficiency figures
In the same month, China announced that the vaccine was 79.34% effective based on what it called “provisional trial data” without releasing the results of phase 3, at odds with UAE figures.
In a national case that raises more concern, Seychelles – the most highly vaccinated country in the world, with around 60% of those vaccinated having received Sinopharm – is seeing a new outbreak of Covid cases among vaccinated residents. His Department of Health reported in mid-May that more than a third of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the week leading up to May 8 had been fully vaccinated. The World Health Organization has said it will review the island nation’s coronavirus data.
Sinopharm did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CNBC.
UAE is expected to play an important role in expanding access to vaccines in developing countries through its partnership with China to manufacture millions of doses locally as part of a joint venture between Sinopharm and the company of UAE-based technology G42. The vaccine produced by the United Arab Emirates is called Hayat-Vax; hayat means “life” in Arabic.
In March, the United Arab Emirates administered third doses of Sinopharm to “a small number” of people who failed to develop antibodies after their first two injections, local news reported.
Despite this, it has been on a travel “red list” for the UK, one of the main tourism partners, since January. France and a number of other countries in the European Union have also put the UAE on their red lists, requiring a ten-day quarantine on arrival.
At the end of April, the United Arab Emirates announced that it would consider “strict measures” to limit the movement of people unvaccinated against the coronavirus, seeking to further scale up its national vaccination campaign which has already administered nearly 11.5 million people. vaccines in its population of about 10 million.