The United Arab Emirates government has announced it will start administering Covid-19 vaccines made by Chinese firm Sinopharm to children aged 3-17 after a trial of 900 minors.
On Monday, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said on Twitter that the country would start vaccinating children aged 3-17 with the Sinopharm shot, which is administered in a two-dose regimen.
MoHAP announced the provision of Sinopharm vaccine for the age group 3 – 17 The decision comes after clinical trials and extensive evaluations and is based on the emergency use authorization and local evaluations which are in line with the approved regulations.#TogetherWeRecoverpic.twitter.com/4Y3VEMMW8V
NCEMA said its decision is based on “clinical trials and extensive evaluations.” The country’s authorities announced in June that they had started a trial, which involved members of the royal family, to monitor the immune response of some 900 children following the administration of the Sinopharm vaccine.
The UAE, which has one of the highest immunization rates in the world, already uses the Pfizer jab to vaccinate children as young as 12. A post from the health ministry on Sunday said that 78.95% of the UAE’s 9 million people had been given one vaccine dose, and 70.57% had been fully vaccinated.
The Chinese-developed Sinopharm shot has been heavily scrutinized in recent weeks. In Hungary, where it has been widely administered, a recent study found that “23.90% of individuals above the age of 60 who took part in the testing and shared their vaccination information had inadequate amounts of IgG type neutralizing antibodies in their bloodstream.”
The UAE led the Phase III clinical trials of the Chinese shot and is also manufacturing it after Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42 entered a joint venture. Sinovac, another widely used Chinese vaccine, has also been called into question. A Thai study suggested that vaccine-induced antibodies halved every 40 days after the second dose.
Chinese state media organization Xinhua has pushed back against the criticism, highlighting a Sri Lankan study in which two shots of Sinopharm were found to engender antibody levels similar to those seen in a person who had been naturally infected. “This vaccine was found very effective for the Delta variant as well,” Sri Jayewardenepura University was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
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