Dubai Aims to Vaccinate All Eligible Adults by End of Year
(Bloomberg) -- Dubai plans to vaccinate all eligible adults by the end of the year, as the Middle East business hub uses a variety of shots and movement restrictions to contain the coronavirus.
“We are planning for 100% of eligible adults by the end of the fourth quarter of this year,” Amer Sharif, the head of Dubai’s Covid-19 Command and Control Centre, told Bloomberg TV.
Daily cases in the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part, have quadrupled since November as the country opened up for travel and eased movement restrictions. The surge forced Dubai to reintroduce curbs on hotels and air travel, and the emirate replaced its top health official last month.
Last week, an official from Dubai’s tourism department criticized the lack of compliance that’s driven cases up, but said the city is confident about growth prospects.
While cases have jumped in recent months, the country has also rolled out an aggressive inoculation program. It has administered more than 4.2 million vaccine doses in a population of about 10 million, one of the highest rates of vaccinations per 100 people globally.
“The current approach for the country is we make available for the people whatever vaccines have been going through the clinical trials, and at the same time partner with different entities to enhance this industry,” Sharif said.
The UAE has approved shots developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, as well as China’s Sinopharm. It has also given Russia’s Sputnik vaccine authorization for emergency use, while Dubai last week received the first shipment of AstraZeneca Plc-Oxford University vaccine from India.
Sharif said the challenge around getting Pfizer shipments is not unique to Dubai and hopes to receive new supplies soon. The vaccine provider last month said it would temporarily be reducing deliveries as it expands its manufacturing capacity.
“The Pfizer supply has been a global challenge,” Sharif said. “There has been a lot of discussion with the Pfizer representatives in the region and we know that there will be new supplies coming in soon.”
Dubai’s neighbor Abu Dhabi, also the capital of the UAE, on Sunday imposed more restrictions to curb the virus spread. It banned all gatherings, shut theaters and cut capacity at hotels and malls.
For the UAE, the priority now lies in striking a balance. “We need to make sure we strike a balance between the numbers of cases but also the social well being and economic well being of our people,” Sharif said.
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