UAE Fatwa Council, under the chairmanship of Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, has issued a 'fatwa' (Islamic ruling) allowing the coronavirus vaccines to be used in compliance with Islamic Sharia’s objectives on the protection of the human body and other relevant Islamic rulings.
Frontline medical staff in Mexico and Chile were among the first to receive their vaccines while Costa Rica began its own immunisation programme, with President Carlos Alvarado hailing what “may be the beginning of the end of this pandemic.”
A nurse in New York became the first person in the US to be vaccinated when she received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot live on television.
The call came as the United States, the country worst hit by the virus, kickstarted the biggest vaccination drive in its history by giving the jab to a nurse in New York.
On Sunday, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) begins vaccinating priority groups of Dubai government employees against the coronavirus, using the Pfizer vaccine.
"In principle, the beauty of the messenger technology is that we can directly start to engineer a vaccine which completely mimics this new mutation — we could be able to provide a new vaccine technically within six weeks," he was quoted as saying in media reports.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen hailed the campaign start as a "touching moment of unity and a European success story," adding the process will "help to get our normal lives back gradually."
Health Minister Ahmed Al Saidi, one of the first citizens to get a jab at a Muscat clinic, said priority would be given to front line health workers and people who are considered to be vulnerable.
African-American communities nationwide have seen disproportionately high levels of death and illness related to the COVID-19 pandemic, while polls have also indicated they are among the most reluctant to get vaccinated.
The department of health said in a statement, “The government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for use."