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UAE lowers age requirement for COVID-19 vaccines to 16

The UAE, made of up seven emirates, is offering all residents and citizens free of charge a vaccine manufactured by Chinese state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm.

January 17, 2021 / 10:40 PM IST

The United Arab Emirates has lowered the minimum age requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to 16, from 18 previously, the ministry of health said on Sunday.

The UAE, made of up seven emirates, is offering all residents and citizens free of charge a vaccine manufactured by Chinese state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm.

The emirate of Dubai alone is offering citizens and residents the choice of either the Sinopharm or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The statement carried by the country's National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority did not specify which vaccine the new minimum age applied to.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Reuters
first published: Jan 17, 2021 10:40 pm

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