In line with its national vaccination plan for Covid-19, the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) had approved emergency use of the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine for the 12-15 age group on May 13, 2021. The approval for emergency local use of the vaccine was given after strict assessment of the outcomes of clinical trials. And today, on May 20, the ministry started the booking process for children’s vaccination after completing their logistics.
The approval supports the UAE’s efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic and protect this vulnerable age group, highlighting the government’s proactive approach to ensuring the community’s health and safety. Residents can book slots for their kids through the MoHAP app only for kids above 12 years. Kids below 16 years of age were not allowed to take the jab in the UAE before this announcement.
Schools and medical practitioners are appreciating the move. “We’re proud to announce that our students aged 12+ now have access to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Because at #GEMSEducation we choose to vaccinate for the health and safety of our students, their families, our staff and for the country!” UAE’s largest education group GEMS tweeted.
Asha Alexander, principal of GEMS Legacy School in Dubai, said, “Vaccination continues to be critically important as children are also being infected in larger numbers in the second wave that is sweeping the world. Parents were initially watchful about the side-effects of the vaccine in older children, but they are more reassured now than ever that this is necessary to protect themselves and others. More people have to take responsibility for their health by avoiding health risks. If schools and workplaces are to open fully, there is greater need to ensure that students are vaccinated to make schools a safer place.”
“Despite the low number of positive cases among children, vaccination is very important because students are gradually going back to face-to-face learning in schools next year. Our message to all parents is to be rest assured that this vaccination will help all of us feel safe and protect the health and wellness of our children,” Dr Farida Al Hosani, the official spokesperson of UAE’s health sector, said. Hosani urged all parents to vaccinate their kids and ensure their health and safety.
Dr Farida Al Hosani
MoHAP, the Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH), Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC) and Dubai Health Authority (DHA) launched a free national vaccination campaign for all citizens and residents of UAE to curb the spread of Covid-19. The UAE has provided over 11 million vaccine doses to citizens and residents, and the country aims to vaccinate all eligible adults by the end of 2021. Till now, 47.51 million tests have been done by authorities.
Indian national and Dubai resident Qamar Sherwani expressed relief and said, “This is really a great initiative by the government, where my 13-year-old son is also going to come under a security cover after this vaccination. As I came to know of this, I was waiting eagerly to start booking. As a parent, we are still waiting for my 10-year-old daughter, who is next in line, to enjoy the feeling of security. I strongly advocate vaccination against Covid-19. It’s only through collective effort that we will be able to defeat this pandemic. It is vital that everyone takes part in this drive and makes the UAE’s campaign successful.”
Here is a step-by-step guide to register on the MoHAP app.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was cleared for use in adolescents between 12 and 15 in the United States after a trial showed it was safe and 100 per cent effective. In late March, the company embarked on a global study to test its vaccine on children aged six months to two years, 2-5 years, and 5-11 years.
The findings from Phase 1 will help to decide the dosage level for later stages. In phases 2 and 3, the company will study the immune response in children, the tolerance level in each age group, and possible side effects. Data on the age group 5-11 is expected as early as this summer, the company had said.
If the trials go well, young children could be vaccinated by the end of the year, BioNTech co-founder and chief medical officer Dr. Ozlem Tureci said. “We expect the data at the end of summer or by autumn this year. We will then file it with the regulators, and, depending on how fast they respond, we might get approval to also immunise younger children by the end of the year,” she said.
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