Sheikh Mansour thanked the teams working on the vaccination campaign and all frontline entities combating COVID-19 in the UAE, including the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Dubai Health Authority.
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."
Along with Health Minister Tawfiq Al Rabiah, a woman in a wheelchair and another man were among the first to be administered the vaccine at a centre in Riyadh, on Thursday.
An unrelenting US coronavirus surge pushed besieged hospitals further to the brink as the United States pressed on with its immunisation rollout on Thursday and prepared to ship nearly 6 million doses of a new vaccine on the cusp of winning regulatory approval.
This sparked some confusion — while an advisory panel recommended emergency use approval for Moderna's vaccine on Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to give the final verdict allowing distribution — expected later on Friday.
Tedros Adhanom also warned that the world has plenty of other challenges, saying: "There is no vaccine for poverty, no vaccine for hunger. There is no vaccine for inequality. There is no vaccine for climate change."
"The approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will add a further important layer to the kingdom's national COVID-19 response," said Mariam Al Jalahma, CEO of the National Health Regulatory Authority...
The European Medicines Agency said the "historic" step paved the way for vaccinations to finally start within days across the 27-nation EU where cases of the disease are surging.
"Since vaccination requirements vary by country and some require second doses, it is important to visit a travel clinic at least one month prior to travel," said Dr Alia Mohammad Al Dallal.