Hundreds of Filipinos are taking part in COVID-19 vaccine trials underway in the United Arab Emirates, either as healthcare workers or as volunteers, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
In a statement, the DFA said that Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42 (G42) is currently conducting Phase III trials of a potential vaccine, developed by Chinese company Sinopharm, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
Since July 16, the vaccine has been administered to 15,000 volunteers of different nationalities including Filipinos, the DFA said.
There are also 180 Filipino nurses and a Filipino doctor working at the site.
As she toured the facility with Group 42's chief research officer Dr. Waleed Zaher, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana commended and thanked the Filipinos taking part in the endeavor.
“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,” she said.
One of the first Filipinos to volunteer is Neil Bie, a reporter for UAE-based The Filipino Times. "Mr. 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," the DFA said. — BM, GMA News