UAE Approves Sinopharm Vaccine as COVID-19 Booster
The United Arab Emirates has given emergency approval of Sinopharm’s protein-based COVID-19 vaccine for use as a booster dose against the pandemic, the country’s Health Ministry announced on Monday. The vaccine will be available to the public from January 2022. Production and distribution of the vaccine is a joint venture between the UAE’s Group 42 and China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a unit of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). The UAE has the highest rate of people fully vaccinated – almost 91% –in the MENA region. Almost 35% of the population has already received COVID-19 vaccine booster doses. But the UAE is reeling under the latest wave of infection. Over the past week, the number of confirmed cases rose 459% and the number of COVID-19 deaths rose 600%, compared to the previous week. The UAE now has the highest estimated effective reproduction rate (R) in the region, with each infected individual causing, on average, 2.36 new infections.