Your questions answered…

The vaccination against Covid-19 has arrived in the UAE. After months of trials, there are two options of Covid-19 vaccine that the UAE has deemed fit for mass-deployment.

Many people, understandably, have questions about getting the Covid-19 vaccine in the UAE. So, we’ve put together a handy guide to the most frequently asked questions.

What is the Covid-19 vaccine?

There are two types of Covid-19 vaccines available in the UAE. In Abu Dhabi, the available Covid-19 vaccine, called Sinopharm, was developed jointly with Sinopharm and China National Biotec Group (CNBG). It underwent clinical trials on volunteers in the capital before receiving the approval here.

In Dubai, the Dubai Health Authority has been deploying both Sinopharm and the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. This one saw German company BioNTech partner with American pharmaceutical corporation, Pfizer, to became the first vaccine to be approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on December 31, 2020.

How does the Covid-19 vaccine work?

In general, most vaccines work by creating a ‘practice run’ of the infection. Patients are injected with a protein or weakened version of the virus which contains instructions to ‘teach’ our cells how to fight it off. Our cells then remember these instructions and can quickly fight off the same nasty proteins the next time they come into contact with them.

The Sinopharm vaccine was created by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products in early 2020, then known as BBIBP-CorV. It uses antibodies to teach the immune system to fight against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Click here for a full explanation.

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Pfizer-BioNTech uses a more modern technique called mRNA to create their vaccine. It has an efficacy rate of 95 per cent and works by injecting material from the virus in order to instruct our cells on how to make a harmless protein unique to the virus. The body then realises that protein doesn’t belong and figures out a way to fight it off – this is why the vaccination can cause flu-like symptoms. Then the next time the body comes across this protein (i.e. in coronavirus) it will already know how to destroy it.

How many times do I need to take the Covid-19 vaccine?

In both instances, you’re required to take two shots. For Sinopharm the second administration can be between 21 and 28 days later. For the Pfizer vaccine the gap between doses should be 21 days.

How much does the Covid-19 vaccine cost?

The Covid-19 vaccine is free to citizens and residents in the UAE. Sinopharm vaccine is available to everyone, while for Pfizer, priority is being given to frontline workers, the elderly and vulnerable.

Where can I get the Covid-19 vaccine?

There are health centres across the country available to make your appointment. For the full list on where to get the Covid-19 vaccine and contact details click here.

How long will I have to wait?

As appointments are booking up fast, reports have suggested the wait could be up to a few weeks. However the UAE is deploying thousands of vaccines each day. If you’re keen to get the vaccine as quickly as possible, we suggest to make your appointment sooner rather than later.

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