Public should adhere to preventive measures - GulfToday

Public should adhere to preventive measures


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Confidence, benevolence and determination are hallmarks of UAE’s citizens and residents. It is a matter of pride for the nation that the world’s first Phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine for COVID-19 being held in the United Arab Emirates have reached a major milestone with over 5,000 volunteers having received their first vaccination.

People of over 80 nationalities volunteering to participate reflects the solid unity and commitment that reigns among the diverse community.

The Emirati leadership has been doing its best to overcome the pandemic through a global collaborative effort.

The 5,000 milestone was reached when the vaccination was given in the presence of Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, the Acting Under-Secretary of Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, at the recently developed purpose-built walk-in registration, screening and testing centre at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, ADNEC.

Dr. Al Kaabi himself was the second participant in the vaccination programme and received his second shot this week.

The thousands of volunteers who have now been vaccinated represent the whole range of nationalities and background in the UAE of all ages between 18 and 60.

The ongoing trials are a continuing part of a series of national initiatives to both foster population health and to enhance the UAE’s medical research and development capabilities, including the local capacity to manufacture the vaccine.

The trials process is being conducted following the international guidelines stipulated by the World Health Organisation, WHO, and the United States Food and Drug Administration, USFDA.

The Phase III clinical trials follow the success of Phase I and Phase II trials conducted by Sinopharm in China, which resulted in 100 per cent of the volunteers generating antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after two doses in 28 days.

The positive developments in the search for a vaccine should not be a reason for the public to let their guard down.

Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, has announced a 30 per cent rise in new COVID-19 cases among UAE citizens during the last period and rightly warned of the dangers of social visits and gatherings that do not follow all preventive and precautionary measures.

As the minister stated, the leadership of the UAE has, from the outset of the crisis to this day, been eager to preserve the health and safety of citizens and residents, but some social practices may pose a risk of infection and contribute to the spread of the virus, especially among the elderly and those with chronic diseases.

Emirati customs and traditions are greatly appreciated and respected by society, as they constitute a source of strength that enhances the solidity of the social fabric of the UAE. However, the exceptional conditions imposed by the spread of the pandemic makes it imperative that everyone exercises caution and care in order to protect our families and our society. The minister has stated that there were many positive indicators recorded during the recent period, such as high recovery rates and low infection rates, in addition to not recording deaths for consecutive days.

However, as he stressed, these positives do not mean that the challenge presented by COVID-19 has ended, as the experiences of other countries indicate that any negligence in the application of preventive measures, even if only by a small percentage, can have major consequences. The entire community needs to keep this important point in mind as various sectors reopen steadily.

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