Dubai to start vaccinations with Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot

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FILE PHOTO: Vial and sryinge are seen in front of displayed AstraZeneca logo

DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai will start vaccinating people with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot, the state media office said on Tuesday as the United Arab Emirates battles its biggest outbreak since the pandemic begun.

The first shipment has arrived from India, the media office said in a tweet. It did not say how many doses were received or when inoculations would start.

A source aware of the vaccine shipments said 200,000 doses had been shipped on Tuesday under a commercial agreement between Dubai authorities and the Serum Institute of India (SII).

SII, which is supplying the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, had no immediate comment.

India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar tweeted: "Made in India vaccines reach Dubai. A special friend, a special relationship."

Dubai is already inoculating residents, free of charge, with the Pfizer-BioNTech and China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) vaccines.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority reported 3,310 new cases on Tuesday, down from a peak of 3,966 on Jan. 28.

The UAE does not disclose where in the country cases are being reported, though Dubai has recently tightened restrictions on hotels, bars, restaurants and shopping centres, where capacity has been limited.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell in Dubai and Sanjeev Miglani and Krishna N. Das in New Delhi; Editing by Mark Potter and Giles Elgood)