Covid-19: Dubai to begin 'extensive' free Pfizer vaccination campaign
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Covid-19: Dubai to begin ‘extensive’ free Pfizer vaccination campaign

Covid-19: Dubai to begin ‘extensive’ free Pfizer vaccination campaign

The first batch of the Pfizer vaccine arrived from Brussels on an Emirates SkyCargo flight on Tuesday

Pfizer vaccine

Dubai will start rolling an “extensive” and free vaccination campaign against Covid-19 on Wednesday using Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced late on Tuesday.

The first batch of the vaccine arrived from Brussels on an Emirates SkyCargo flight on Tuesday, Dubai Media Office confirmed on Twitter.

“The shipment was offloaded and cleared on priority basis on arrival at Emirates’ dedicated SkyPharma facility,” it said.

The vaccines arrived after the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announced the emergency registration of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine on Tuesday.

The decision came in response to a request by Pfizer to approve the emergency registration of the vaccine so that concerned health authorities can import it after fulfilling the international standards and guidelines for the safe and efficient shipping of the vaccine, official news agency WAM reported.

“Authorising the registration of the vaccine comes after Pfizer had submitted all required documents in compliance with the measures and systems in place in the UAE and in accordance with international safety and effectiveness standards,” said Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary of Public Health Policy and Licensing at MoHAP.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the second vaccine available in the UAE after the Sinopharm vaccine was approved last month.

Pfizer’s vaccine uses a new technology called messenger RNA that turns the body’s own cells into vaccine-producing factories to fight the coronavirus. In a trial of almost 44,000 people, it was 95 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic cases of Covid-19, protecting people of all ages and ethnicities. Crucially, it was able to prevent the most severe infections.

The vaccine has already been approved in the UK, EU, US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Fatwa on vaccines

Meanwhile the UAE Fatwa Council has also issued a ‘fatwa’ allowing the coronavirus vaccines to be used in compliance with Sharia objectives.

This came following growing concerns among Muslims over the halal status of the Covid vaccines, official news agency WAM reported.

“Coronavirus vaccination is classified under preventive medicines for individuals, as recommended by the Islamic faith, particularly in times of pandemic diseases when the healthy happen to be prone to infections due to the high risk of contracting the disease, therefore posing risk to the entire society,” the council explained.

The Fatwa Council added that even though the vaccine in question contains non-halal ingredients banned by Islam, it’s permissible to use it in implementation of the Islamic rule that permits the use of such products in case there are no alternatives. It cited the highly contagious nature of the disease as a justification to use the vaccines.

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