Abu Dhabi Makes Boosters Mandatory for Sinopharm Vaccine
Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates, has made booster doses mandatory for people who were inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine.
“Vaccinated individuals who received their second dose of Sinopharm vaccine more than six months ago must receive a booster dose to enhance their immunity,” Abu Dhabi’s media office said in a tweet. Other vaccines don’t currently require booster doses.
Abu Dhabi’s media office didn’t say if the requirements would apply to the six other emirates, including Dubai, that make up the UAE. Abu Dhabi currently restricts access to some public spaces to people who have been fully vaccinated, and those who fail to get booster shots by Sept. 20 will no longer be able to enter these places.
Sinopharm won the World Health Organization’s backing for its vaccine earlier this year, and its efficacy for preventing symptomatic infections and hospitalizations was estimated to be 79% in all age groups combined.
The UAE has already administered third doses to a “small number” of people who didn’t develop antibodies after their first two Sinopharm shots, The National newspaper reported in March. Peng Xiao, the chief executive officer of G42, the company that’s making the Sinopharm shot locally in the UAE, told Bloomberg at the time the firm was “testing if a third shot can help to protect against new mutations.”
The issue of booster shots has now become more pressing, amid questions about “breakthrough” infections among the fully vaccinated, particularly with the fast-spreading delta variant. U.S. President Joe Biden said last Friday his administration is considering whether to start booster shots as soon as five months after people receive a second dose.
Israel began to inoculate its population with third doses at the beginning of the month, starting with people over the age of 60 and gradually lowering that to 30. Initial results of a study there showed a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, given to Israelis over 60, has been 86% effective.
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