Pinay nurses in UAE vaccine trials hailed

PHILIPPINE Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Hjayceelyn M. Quintana commended the hundreds of Filipino nurses and volunteers who took part in the Phase III trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Waleed Zaher, Chief Research Officer for Group 42, accompanied Quintana to a walk-through of the trial process, from registration to actual vaccination when she visited a Group 42 (G42) Healthcare station located at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) recently.

The ADNEC trial site is currently the biggest of its kind in the world.

Since 16 July, the potential vaccine has been administered to over 15,000 people of various nationalities, including Filipino volunteers.

One of the first Filipinos to volunteer was Neil Bie, a reporter from the UAE-based The Filipino Times.

Bie said that his prime motivation for volunteering was to express his gratitude to the UAE for caring for all foreign residents like him during the pandemic the same way it treats its own citizens.

During the walk-through of the facility, Dr. Zaher introduced to the Ambassador the Filipino nurses working at the site and expressed UAE’s appreciation for the role they play in the mission.

For her part, Quintana said that she was very proud of the Filipinos at the facility.

She thanked all Filipino medical frontliners involved in the COVID-19 vaccine trial, especially as it will benefit humanity as a whole. 

“There is a core Filipino value called “pakikipagkapwa” which can be roughly described as ‘one’s care for his or her fellow human being.’

"The dedication given by Filipinos involved in the vaccine trial springs forth from this Filipino value,” said Quintana after talking to some of the Filipino nurses working at the site.

G42 has 181 Filipino frontliners (180 nurses and one doctor) involved in the COVID-19 vaccine trials.

Dr. Zaher said that the Ambassador’s visit contributed to boosting the morale of the Filipino nurses. 

One of them, Rogelio Buezon Jr., said, “We are privileged and grateful to see our Ambassador taking time to visit the Filipino frontliners. This is a great way to send a message of hope that the Philippine government values the efforts of frontliners like us, especially during these times.”

The UAE is among the first countries undertaking a Phase III Trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine being tested in the UAE is one that is developed by Chinese company Sinopharm.