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Dubai is planning to inoculate 70% of its population with the coronavirus vaccine developed by American pharma giant Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech by the end of next year, news agency Reuters reported, citing a health official.

The Middle East business hub, which is part of the United Arab Emirates, is seeking to “reach the herd immunity that is required," Farida al-Khaja, chairwoman of Dubai’s steering committee for Covid-19 vaccinations, told Reuters.

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The financial hub of the UAE began the first phase of Covid-19 vaccination campaign last week, targeting "priority groups", including those 60 and older, people with chronic medical conditions, those with disabilities and frontline workers.

In contrast with the UAE's capital Abu Dhabi, which rolled out a vaccine made by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) to the general public, Dubai followed Saudi Arabia, which earlier this month became the first Arab country to use the Pfizer vaccine.

"We are targeting to vaccinate approximately 70% of the population of Dubai by the end of 2021. We want to reach the herd immunity that is required," Farida al-Khaja, chairwoman of Dubai's steering committee for COVID-19 vaccinations, said, as per the report.

Dubai, home to over 3.3 million people, last week started a free vaccination campaign, which in the first phase is targeting senior citizens and residents aged 60 and above. Inoculations will also be provided to people with chronic diseases aged 18 or above, and to frontline workers.

The second phase is set to begin in April, and would be open to all citizens and residents, Khaja said.

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