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UAE temporarily restricts COVID-19 vaccinations to elderly, chronic diseases

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker injects a dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to a woman, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates December 23, 2020. Government of Dubai Media Office/Handout via REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates will temporarily only vaccinate residents and citizens who are elderly or who have certain health conditions, state media said on Sunday.

The temporary policy change was made following a spike in infections over the past weeks “to ensure acquired community immunity and contain the disease”, state news agency WAM said, quoting the health ministry.

For the next four to six weeks authorities will try to vaccinate as many elderly people and people with certain diseases as possible. Some other appointments will also be available for other population segments, it added.

The move came as daily infections tripled in around six weeks to hit a record 3,977 on Feb. 3 in the UAE. The Gulf state has not given a breakdown for each emirate.

A vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) had been made available to all adults in the Gulf state.

Dubai has also made the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines available to citizens and residents of the emirate, with priority given to the eldery, those with chronic diseases and frontline workers.

The healthy ministry reported 3,093 new cases on Sunday.

Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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