2021 is upon us and bursting with all of the usual New Year’s resolutions. But this time around, it feels like there is an extra spring in our step as we look forward to a new year as far removed from the disaster that was 2020 as we can. And where 2020 left us with grief, debt, pain, fear, panic, and a whole lot of uncertainty about what was lurking around the corner, it feels like 2021 is already ushering us through the tunnel and into the light with one little word: Vaccine.
Science is pretty amazing. Historically, science, modern medicine, technology, and man’s indomitable spirit have been used to staunch the spread of plagues that could have wiped mankind from the face of the earth — polio, tetanus, measles, tuberculosis, to name a few. After a year of research, trials, and accelerated emergency production, several countries have already started rolling out the vaccine that is ready and waiting to protect us not only from the 2020-destroying strand, but the new super virus that is threatening to ruin our 2021 as well. Well, not today, COVID.
For UAE residents, we have had the opportunity to receive vaccinations against COVID-19 for free, and have even been among the first countries in the world to roll out a mass inoculation program. The Chinese Sinopharm vaccine has been available to all residents since December 15th, 2020. Sinopharm’s vaccine works in the same way as a traditional vaccine (like a flu shot) to fight infection in that it injects you with a bit of the disease already – not enough to make you completely ill, but just enough to teach your body how to build up its own antibodies against it. So when you are confronted with the actual virus, rather than succumb to illness, your body will already know how to fight the disease. The Chinese vaccine is reported to be 86% effective, which in terms of vaccinations, is actually quite high – the flu vaccine is about 45-50% effective.
And as of December 23rd, residents are also able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for free; however, it is only being rolled out in phases, starting with Dubai’s most vulnerable: residents and citizens over the age of 60, frontline workers, people of determination, and those who suffer from chronic conditions that make them high risk (like asthma and diabetes). The Pfizer vaccine is new science in that it utilizes mRNA, which previously has only been used for diseases such as cancer and for gene therapy treatment. In overly simple terms, the vaccine carries ‘codes’ that teach your cells exactly how to fight the infection without needing to give a person the live coronavirus. Research has shown the Pfizer vaccine to be 95% effective.
Getting a vaccine is a choice, but in order for herd immunity to work, 70% of the population needs to be inoculated. The UAE is estimating we will reach 70% by the end of 2021. So here is to a good year. Here’s to being able to hug our loved ones again. Here’s to being able to shake hands with a stranger you just met and offer them a smile that they can see. Here’s to a 2021 without Coronavirus.
If you would like to receive the Sinopharm vaccine, most healthcare clinics should be carrying the vaccine at this time. Please contact your healthcare clinic for more information. Otherwise, with a good book, some water, and a few snacks, it just takes some time waiting at Dubai Parks and Resorts with no appointment necessary.
If you qualify for Phase 1, then call 800-342 to set up an appointment to receive the Pfizer vaccine at one of five locations in Dubai.