UAE Ministers Taking Shots to Show World Chinese Vaccine is Safe
The latest COVID-19 information and statistics for the Middle East and North Africa
Why are so many high-ranking government officials in the United Arab Emirates publicly showing themselves receiving doses of the Chinese-manufactured coronavirus vaccine candidate, which is in the final stage of clinical trials and has received emergency use authorization in the Gulf country?
Lt. Gen. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister and interior minister, on Monday became the latest Emirati minister to be photographed getting a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the China National Biotec Group, a subsidiary of the giant China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (Sinopharm).
“The first targeted audience of UAE ministers receiving doses of the Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm vaccine is domestic: it is indeed a good way to bolster public confidence, as frontline workers are also being vaccinated in large numbers in the country,” Dr. Emma Soubrier, a visiting scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told The Media Line.
Other UAE officials who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine include Noura Al Kaabi, minister of culture and youth; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of foreign affairs; and international cooperation; Abdul Rahman Al Owais, minister of health and prevention; Obaid Al Shamsi, director general of the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority; and Sheikh Khaled bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Executive Council and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office.
“Given the status of these ministers, it is also a clear message sent to the rest of the world about the level of trust invested by the UAE in the Chinese vaccine, and in the broader cooperation with China amid the coronavirus pandemic, in health technology as well as artificial intelligence and cyber capabilities,” Soubrier said.
The emergency use approval for frontline workers was issued in September after the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority confirmed the successful completion of Phase 3 clinical trials on 31,000 volunteers, including 1,000 with chronic diseases. Certain health and safety standards were also met, according to the agency.
Dr. Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, told The Media Line that the emergency authorization for the vaccine is a source of pride for China.
“The approval for emergency use in UAE meant a lot to China,” Huang said. “With the UAE becoming the first foreign country to authorize the use of a Chinese-made vaccine, it will help boost the image that Chinese-made vaccines are safe and effective. Also, since the volunteers came from 125 countries, the approval would help China market its vaccines at a global level.”
Iran on Thursday reported its second-highest daily number of new coronavirus cases since the outbreak began there in mid-February.
The 5,471 new cases broke Wednesday’s record of 5,616, bringing the total number of infections to 550,757, said Sima Sadat Lari, Iran’s Health Ministry spokeswoman.
The 304 coronavirus deaths reported took the total number of fatalities to 31,650.
Iran is the hardest-hit country in the Middle East from the coronavirus pandemic, with the highest number of infections and deaths.
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the Middle East and North Africa as of 7:00 UTC on Friday.
|Country||Confirmed cases||Deaths||Recovered||Active Cases|
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|United Arab Emirates|