AstraZeneca vaccine explainer: All you need to know after UAE approval

Dubai received its first shipment of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, making it the third COVID-19 vaccine approved and offered by the UAE in its nationwide inoculation drive.

The vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, was manufactured in, and shipped to the UAE from India.

The vaccine’s genetic make-up

The Oxford vaccine consists of adenovirus which causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Modified to prevent it from reproducing it prevents adenovirus from causing an infection. It carries a fraction of the coronavirus to deliver it to the cells in the human body to trigger an immune response.

Unlike the mRNA viruses, AstraZeneca’s vaccine uses double-stranded DNA and a tough coat of adenovirus to help protect the genetic material inside, ensuring freezing of the vaccine is not required.

A health worker fills a syringe with a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Reuters)A health worker fills a syringe with a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Reuters)

Who is eligible to take the vaccine and where can they take it?

The CEO of DHA’s Clinical Support Services and nursing Sector, and Chairperson of the COVID-19 Vaccination Steering Committee, Dr. Farid al-Khaja, told Gulf News that the AstraZeneca vaccine will be available to Emiratis between the ages of 18 and 60, people of determination and people will chronic diseases within the same age group, provided they have a valid visa in the country.

The Oxford vaccine will be available to the groups at the One Central Vaccination Center, according to Dr. al-Khaja.

She also added that frontline and vital sector workers from both public and private entities would be able to take the vaccine at the Vaccination Field Center. Individuals in these categories will be able to schedule appointments via the institutions that they work for.

However, children are not eligible for this vaccine specifically as its safety in this space has not been assessed yet in minors.

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