UAE is committed to support the international community and countries in need, health official says
The UAE’s investments in global Covid-19 vaccine distribution will come in handy while dealing with similar situations in future, a top official from the health sector opined.
“Whatever investment that we are doing today is not only for fighting Covid-19. It is basically an investment for the future. Definitely after Covid-19 there might be any other diseases that we need to be ready for. So, this is a learning process and an investment for the future,” Dr Farida Al Hosani, Official Spokesperson, UAE Health Sector, said during the Hope Consortium’s World Immunisation and Logistics Summit.
“We believe that it is not enough for one country to succeed in the fight against Covid-19. It’s basically the collective success of different countries. So, the UAE is very committed to support the international community and countries in need. Launching of Hope Consortium is one way where we enable countries, which need support in logistics and transportation. We definitely also work with COVAX and the international community to provide all types of support to other countries,” she added.
Hope Consortium has sent humanitarian aid to more than 250 international destinations. The UAE’s largest cold storage facility for vaccines is established in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD). A purpose-built research and development hub for life sciences, biotechnology and vaccine production – the first-of-its-kind in the Arab world – is being set up in KIZAD.
Giving a quick recap of the learning curve during the pandemic, she pointed out that creating awareness about the vaccination drive and engaging the community were important factors to start with. “We got a good understanding of the community’s perception by doing surveys. For every vaccination campaign, we noticed that anti-vaccine groups were really trying to mislead the community by sharing a lot of stories that could create a lack of trust between the communities.”
Countering fake news and misconceptions, Dr Farida said the authorities reached out to the general public with accurate information through traditional media and social media platforms, using different languages, and also seeking assistance of community leaders to spread awareness on the importance of the vaccination drive.
“Vaccination awareness campaigns are still targeting all adults 16 (years) and above and educating different community segments about the importance of getting the jab.”
Dr Farida stressed whole-hearted community engagement through the Phase-III clinical trial of the vaccine, along with cooperation of public and private healthcare providers have played a major role in the successful rollout and scaling up of the nationwide vaccination campaign.
“We were able to expand our capabilities to ensure that we were vaccinating huge numbers every day.”
Dr Farida said the health sector introduced different models of vaccination such as drive-throughs and turning Majlises into vaccination clinics.
“This helped us to really be in a race with time and try to vaccinate as much as we can in a short period of time.”
She stressed that technology and ability to use it has been one of the key success factors during the vaccination drive. “Enabling the community with technology is a very important factor, following up the safety of the vaccine, to report any side effects.”
Till Tuesday, 8.2 million doses have been administered in the UAE at a distribution rate of 83.12 doses per 100 people.