G42 HealthCare

Covid vaccine: UAE on track to vaccinate 50% population well before March deadline

The UAE is on track to vaccinate 50 per cent of the population much before the targeted first quarter of 2021, a top official from the health sector said.

It’s just over a week since the UAE set an aim to inoculate more than 50 per cent of citizens and residents in the country by the end of March. And the number of doses offered to the general public has more than doubled in as many days — from 53,859 on Friday to 118,928 on Wednesday.

Importantly, more than 1.3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered as on Wednesday, January 13.

“With the efficacy and efficiency this operation is being conducted with right now, I think we will reach the target even before the set milestone,” Dr Walid Zaher, Chief Research Officer and Vaccine Project Leader, G42 Healthcare, told Khaleej Times in an interview.

“The target is realistic. But I think we can achieve it way earlier than the set target.”

In further evidence, the rate of administering the doses has seen a major uptick in the past few days — from 8.98 doses per 100 people on Thursday, January 7, to 14.10 on Wednesday, January 13. The UAE’s National Vaccination Programme is currently second highest globally after Israel, in terms of vaccination administration rates.

Dr Zaher stressed that the rate is variable depending on the number of people getting vaccinated.

“If you see an increase or decrease, it means that there are more or less people coming for the vaccine. Once more people get vaccinated, the rate will decrease. When we vaccinate more people, there may not be any more people to vaccinate.”

Dr Zaher urged members of the community to take the jab and secure the country.

“When more people see others getting vaccinated, those who are hesitant will go for vaccination. The numbers are variable. You are dealing with a dynamic environment. So, as long as the numbers are steady and within a certain mean and the operation itself is still ongoing, we will achieve before the target,” Dr Zaher said.

Currently, more than 150 health centres are offering the vaccine free of cost across the country