Abu Dhabi starts COVID-19 vaccinations

Abu Dhabi starts COVID-19 vaccinations
Above, a COVID-19 screening center in Abu Dhabi. The UAE has so far recorded more than 184,000 coronavirus cases, including 617 deaths. (AFP)
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Updated 14 December 2020

Abu Dhabi starts COVID-19 vaccinations

Abu Dhabi starts COVID-19 vaccinations
  • The UAE is one of the first countries to start widespread inoculation
  • Residents in the capital can book an appointment through the Abu Dhabi Health Services hotline

AUB DHABI: The United Arab Emirates has launched COVID-19 vaccinations in the capital Abu Dhabi, health officials said Monday, days after it approved the jab by Chinese drugs giant Sinopharm.
The Gulf nation is one of the first countries to start widespread inoculation, after Britain became the first to roll out a campaign using a vaccine by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
Gulf countries UAE and Bahrain, where third-phase trials of the Sinopharm vaccine were carried out, have both officially registered it for public use after it was previously approved for emergency use for frontline health workers.
Residents in the capital can book an appointment through the Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA) hotline.
“Residents can book an appointment for the vaccine now, free of charge,” a SEHA operator said, with local reports saying at least 45 hospitals and clinics were equipped with the vaccine.
Sinopharm – which uses an inactive form of the coronavirus – is administered in two doses, 21 days apart, according to SEHA.
The UAE has so far recorded more than 184,000 coronavirus cases, including 617 deaths.
China has four vaccines, including Sinopharm, in the final stages of development and is well advanced with mass human testing in a number of countries, including Brazil, the UAE and Turkey.
But unlike vaccines being developed by Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, little information has been published about the safety or efficacy of Chinese vaccines.
In Peru, clinical trials of a Sinopharm vaccine were suspended after neurological problems were detected in a test volunteer.
Chinese vaccine frontrunners Sinovac and Sinopharm had pre-orders for fewer than 500 million doses by mid-November, according to data from London consultancy Airfinity – mostly from countries that have participated in trials.
Britain’s AstraZeneca, meanwhile, has pre-orders for 2.4 billion doses, and Pfizer for about half a billion orders.
Two vaccines have undergone third-phase trials in the UAE – the Sinopharm project and Russia’s Sputnik-V, named after the Soviet-era satellite.


Death toll now 130 in tribal conflict in Darfur

Death toll now 130 in tribal conflict in Darfur
Updated 35 min 42 sec ago

Death toll now 130 in tribal conflict in Darfur

Death toll now 130 in tribal conflict in Darfur

JEDDAH: The death toll in a new tribal conflict in Sudan rose to 130 on Monday as clashes in West Darfur spread south.
At least 47 people were killed in South Darfur after 83 died and tens of thousands were displaced in West Darfur in the previous two days. It was the worst violence since a peace agreement last October raised hopes of an end to years of war.
Sudan has been undergoing a fragile transition since the removal from power of dictator Omar Bashir in April 2019 after mass protests against his rule.
The new bloodshed followed the end of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur on Dec. 31.
The aid group Save the Children warned: “In the chaos, we fear many children will have been separated from their parents, and will now be at risk of exploitation.” Its Sudan country director Arshad Malik said the many wounded had overwhelmed health centers, and injured and dying people were lying on the floors and corridors of hospitals.
“We call on all parties to the violence in West Darfur to lay down their arms immediately, before the situation gets out of control,” he said.
Authorities in Khartoum said they had sent a delegation to contain the situation. The UN secretary-general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric urged them to “bring an end to the fighting.”