Dubai, Feb 3 The UAE is building up its capacity to manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine in the future, and the country's position is to provide as much support as it can to the international community, said Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector.
"There has been a lot of expectation from the UAE of different stakeholders. Our leadership position is to provide as much support to international community. However, we are not a vaccine manufacturer and we are building up capacity for future manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccine as well," Al Hosani said during a panel discussion on Tuesday.
"A long-term strategic vision is there to support international community. We are having many conversations on how best the UAE can support different countries with the vaccine supply network, infrastructure, sharing knowledge and other different means."
She said the UAE's strategic priority is to secure the vaccines for residents as early as possible, through discussions with various vaccine manufactures, Khaleej Times reported.
"The UAE has been working during the whole Covid-19 period to provide aid and support to different countries through international collaboration. The UAE leadership has been trying to work out a balance between ensuring the availability of vaccine for our society and also working with international community to ensure availability to other countries.
"We are engaged in the discussion with other countries on how to support with logistics parts of the vaccine as the UAE has strong infrastructure, strong international connectivity and storage facilities. We are already regional hub of many pharmaceutical vaccines for commercial use," she said during the webinar.
Organised by Atlantic Council, the online panel discussion also involved Manaf AlQahtani of the Bahrain National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus, and Shoshy Goldberg, the Government Chief Nursing Officer at the Israeli Ministry of Health.
The webinar aimed to explore and learn from the experiences of the UAE, Bahrain and Israel, which are among the leading countries in the vaccine rollout.
Replying to a question about how to maintain balance between keeping the Covid-19 under control and also opening up the economy, Al Hosani said this is definitely a challenging formula.
"However, I think one thing we all agree on is that vaccination definitely helps revive the economy and we are aiming to reach a level of herd immunity through vaccination. This will support positively to our economy," she said, adding that the more the UAE vaccinates people, the faster it can go back to a normal life and reopen tourism.
"Therefore, we are working at the local and international level to ensure that the public health standards and protocols are adhered to. We update the standards and protocols based on every new research, whether it is related to medical practices, quarantine or isolation. The UAE's overall strategic approach to Covid-19 has been very unique, with a focus on expanding testing and early detection and intervention. This really brought up good results and we passed through very stable stages of Covid-19 last year. Hopefully, this will also help decline in the number of cases this year," she said.
Al Hosani also noted that the UAE's public and private healthcare providers are connected to electronic medical records, which enable the authorities to monitor and assess different indicators.
"We are seeing good progress on a daily basis. Technology and innovation are definitely one of the main enablers of success of vaccination in the UAE. We conducted a couple of surveys to see the acceptance of the community and based on this, we rolled out the campaign. We could see the level of acceptance from the beginning was good, higher than expected," the official said.
Working with Bahrain, Israel
Al Hosani noted that the UAE has been closely working with Bahrain and Israel to learn from their experience and also to share the UAE's experience with them.
"We have been working closely with Bahrain. We consider ourselves as one team from the technical and political side to deal with Covid-19. We have been working with Bahrain in clinical trials of phase 3 for Sinopham vaccine. This helps exchange knowledge and experience with other countries. It is totally new experience for all of us," she said, adding that the UAE is having discussion with authorities in Jerusalem on how it can avoid and at the same time overcome the challenges of the pandemic.
"We believe working closely with international society will help us better understand Covid-19 and expedite the research to have better control of the disease."
( With inputs from IANS )
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