The United Arab Emirates has issued emergency approval for the use of a COVID-19 vaccine, currently in its third phase of testing in the Gulf country, health authorities said on Monday.
“The vaccine will be available to our first line of defense heroes who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus,” said the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority in a tweet.
The vaccine is “fully and completely compatible with laws and regulations,” the UAE’s Minister of Health and Prevention Abdul Rahman al-Owais said during a televised press conference.
He also said that the government’s goal is to protect front line workers from “any dangers that they may face due to the nature of their work” while fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
The vaccine is effective and has resulted in a “strong response” by generated antibodies in trial volunteers, according to the health minister who cited results of the ongoing study.
He also said reviewed results have showed that the vaccine is safe for use.
A total of 31,000 volunteers of 125 nationalities participated in the clinical trials held in the UAE, a government official said during the press conference.
Doctor Nawal al-Kaabi said initial results of the ongoing trial are “encouraging” and only minor side effects were detected in volunteers who developed antibodies.
“No serious side effects that require immediate medical treatment were recorded,” she added.
Al-Kaabi also said the vaccine did not cause any complications on 1,000 volunteers who have pre-existing conditions.
Health authorities have followed quality control procedures and safety measures to ensure the efficacy of the vaccine, according to al-Kaabi.