Abu Dhabi: The United Arab Emirates has vaccinated more than 1.2 million people, including both the country's citizens and foreigners living in the UAE, against the coronavirus disease, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has said.
"Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our frontline heroes, 1,275,000 vaccinations have already been provided to UAE citizens and residents. We hope that with vaccinations picking up the pace we will reach the point of full recovery in the shortest possible time," the crown prince wrote on Twitter. According to the statistics of the ourworldindata.org web portal, which compiles official data on COVID-19 in each country, the UAE ranks second in the world after Israel and first among the Arab states in the number of vaccinations.
The vaccine is currently available to any individual aged over 18. The UAE authorities intend to inoculate 50 per cent of the country's over-9-million population during the first quarter of 2021. In December, Abu Dhabi approved two vaccines against the coronavirus, namely the one developed by US firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and the one by China's Sinopharm.
Among other things, western media have reported that some of the wealthiest citizens of the United Kingdom prefer receiving a shot in Emirati private clinics without waiting for their turn for vaccination back home.
In December, the UK informed the World Health Organisation of a mutated variant of SARS-CoV-2, which is reported to be 70 per cent more transmissible than other coronavirus strains. Although the new strain has not been proven to be more pathogenic, many states shut their borders and suspended travel with the United Kingdom. The UAE, however, remains open for UK travellers.