DUBAI: Qatar and Dubai launched coronavirus vaccination drives within hours of each other on Wednesday, their governments said, with the elderly and front line workers among the first to receive shots.

In Dubai, a senior citizen was among the first to get the jab, the official Dubai Media Office tweeted, while in Doha a 79-year-old retired university professor was the first to be injected.

The UAE — which is made up of seven emirates including the capital Abu Dhabi and Dubai — approved the emergency registration of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday, the same day the first batch arrived from abroad, the official WAM news agency reported.

The first phase of the rollout will target citizens and residents over the age of 60, adults with chronic diseases, people with special needs as well as front line and other key workers. It will be voluntary.

Qatar’s first consignment of Pfizer-BioNTech doses landed on a passenger flight from Brussels on Monday, hours after approval was granted.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2020

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