“Safety is the most important concern of the study”…

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) announced today that it has initiated a Sinopharm vaccine study on children aged three to 17.

Trials on younger volunteers are already going on in China, the United States, United Kingdom and India, but this immune bridge study will be the first in the MENA region, and aims to ensure we can offer immunity to people regardless of age.

The trial group size will be 900 strong, and each participant will take part with “the full consent of their parents and be closely monitored, with their safety the most important concern of the study”.

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Protecting the youth

Immunising kids (and trials for immunising kids) is not a new thing. Infants just a few days old receive vaccinations in many countries, including this one. Yes the lead time between laboratory and human trials has been dramatically reduced for jabs against Covid-19, but necessarily so.

Speaking about the trial’s intentions and safety protocols, Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, Chairwoman of the National Covid-19 Clinical Management Committee, who is leading the study, said: “As more and more people are vaccinated in the UAE, we want to make sure that our children are able to receive the vaccine safely.”

“We want both children and parents to understand every step of the process and also to know that we will be with them, supporting them, answering every question they may have, at any time.”

New challenges

Though we’ve come a long way in just over a year, the global community is still facing big hurdles. New variants of the Covid-19 virus have seen an upturn in infection numbers across the world, as well as an increase in severity of some cases.

Getting kids vaccinated and closing the circle on herd immunity has always been a part of the international plan. It’s also a key element of the UAE’s long-term recovery plan, which has set goals for 100 per cent vaccination of targeted groups by end of 2021.

Images: Getty