UAE opens regional COVID-19 vaccination site for Chinese nationals

DUBAI, May 25 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates will offer China’s Sinopharm vaccine to Chinese nationals visiting the regional tourism and business hub, the first non-residents to be eligible for the country’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19.

Chinese nationals over the age of 16 holding a short-term visa can receive two doses of Sinopharm in Dubai, the state news agency WAM said earlier this week, under an agreement between the UAE and China to launch a regional vaccination site.

The UAE led Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine produced by China’s state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm and has started manufacturing it under a joint venture between Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42.

The Gulf Arab state, a country of some 9 million people, has vaccinated about 73% of its eligible population, authorities have said.

It recorded 1,512 new COVID-19 infections on Monday to take its total to 557,610 cases and 1,654 deaths.

The UAE, which is offering four vaccines, said this month it would start offering a booster shot of Sinopharm. (Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)