UAE Ministry of Health Confirms Sinopharm Vaccine for Covid 19 is safe for Children aged 3 to 17 years. Vaccination now mandatory for all children age 16 and above.
Background: UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention Confirms Sinopharm Vaccine for Covid 19 Safe for Children aged 3 to 17 years in Landmark Push to Protect Schools, Education, Children and Families. Vaccinations now mandatory for children of 12 years or over attending school.
In a world first, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (‘وزارة الصحة’ ), the UAE ministry responsible for the implementation of health care policy in the UAE, has confirmed that the Sinopharm vaccine can now be used by children safely from three years. The aim is that by extending the availability of the vaccine to children, the UAE population will now be able to fast track near blanket herd immunity and the safety of everyone in the UAE. To date, only the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine has been authorised for use on children by the Ministry of Health and Protection- and only for those of twelve years or older.
With children vaccinated, the aim will be that the loss of education experienced by students as a result of Covid 19 will be mitigated.
The decision, which was made today [2nd August 2021), is radical, with many Western Governments, including the United Kingdom, still refusing to permit the vaccination of younger children.
The UAE has ben the key driver for proving the efficacy of the Sinopharm vaccine globally, and the decision was made by the UAE government to allow the vaccination of children only after an extensive clinical trial of the Sinopharm vaccine amongst more than 900 children in Abu Dhabi in June.
Globally, the consensus is that, whilst the direct risks of serious life-threatening illness in children from Covid 19 are minimal, the secondary risks of “Long Covid” in children, together with serious knock-on risks to families and older people from children who catch the disease and who are not vaccinated, remain statistically significant. The negative impacts on children in education are serious, and the decision by parents to vaccinate children is likely to significantly reduce these.
The decision comes on the back of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announcement that it conducted 284,403 additional COVID-19 tests on Sunday [1st August 2021] as part of its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and the medical care of those infected.
More than 1,519 new coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the UAE to 682,377. Two further deaths due to COVID-19 complications were reported, bringing the total number of deaths in the UAE to 1,951.
To date, 659,664 people have recovered from the virus.
Mandatory vaccination for Back to School
“The policies mean all pupils aged 16 and above, as well as staff and all visitors, must be fully vaccinated with a UAE approved vaccine to access the school premises, whether within or outside school hours.
The vaccinations must be verified on the ALHOSN app prior to returning to school at the start of the academic year.”
HE Amer Al Hammadi. Undersecretary. ADEK.
Currently it is not compulsory for children under 16 to be vaccinated in the UAE, although it is unknown whether this will change. For children aged 16 years or older, vaccination is now mandatory.
- Reopening of canteens
- Opened play areas
- Resumption of Sport in schools including swimming
- Return of full ECA programmes – with masks and social distancing
- Within school premises, physical distancing will be scaled down to one meter within classrooms and throughout school grounds.
Distance learning will remain an option for children with chronic illnesses, for those aged 16 and above who are not vaccinated, and for those who wish to continue learning online if the model is offered by their school.
Further mutations of the virus are certain, although the risks these will pose are yet to be seen. Annual booster vaccines are likely to become part of every day life moving forward.
As it stands, parents will need to weigh up the risks and benefits of vaccinating their children, a decision that will inevitably have to balance protecting every child’s opportunity to have an uninterrupted education with the more obvious direct physical health benefits for children, families and society.
Whatever the decision made by parents, there is consensus that the praise heaped by the Ministry of Health and Protection on all those children and their families who have taken part in trials for the vaccine as ‘heroes’ is very richly deserved.
Click here to book a vaccine and read the latest advice from the UAE Ministry of Health and Protection.
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