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Covid vaccine UAE: Pfizer jab lifts Dubai residents’ spirits

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Vaccination drive in the first phase is being conducted between 8am and 8 pm daily

Dubai residents wore their emotions on their sleeve, as they turned up in large numbers to take the Pfizer- BioNTech jab against the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) jab at the six designated centres of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) on Thursday.

The Pfizer- BioNTech vaccination drive, which started from 2pm onwards on Wednesday, is being conducted 8 am and 8 pm daily.

The first phase of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination campaign was launched in Dubai on Wednesday, a day after the announcement was made.

The DHA centres are administering the Covid-19 vaccination to a select Dubai residents and Emiratis.

Eligibility norms stipulate that they are above 60 years old, frontline healthcare workers, people of determination and those with comorbidities.

Abdullah (70), an Emirati, was one of the first few people to take the Pfizer-BioNTech jab at the Al Barsha centre on Wednesday.

He exuded his happiness after taking the shot.

Abdullah said: “My son also took the jab in Abu Dhabi yesterday (Tuesday) and he advised me to follow suit. Though he opted for the Chinese Sinopharma vaccine, I settled for the Pfizer-BioNTech in Dubai because the latter has a proven efficacy of 95 per cent. The procedure to take the jab is streamlined. It took me only around 15 minutes from the time I parked my vehicle to take the jab. I had booked my appointment on Tuesday evening via the DHA’s mobile application (app). The centre had all my details well in advance, which made it such a smooth process in the end. Now, I feel relieved, as a senior citizen needs to be extra cautious.”

The DHA authorities had administered the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine largely to Government officials on the first day, a source at the Al Barsha centre said.

“We’re happy to welcome a number of government officials on Wednesday. Around 40 people took the shot on the first day in less than two hours, as we’re well prepared in advance,” the source said.

The source advised that prior booking is mandatory in a bid to ensure that precious time isn’t lost in administering the vaccine.

Jacintha, a Dubai resident, who works as a nurse at a hospital, too, expressed her sense of relief. She said she could now work without any stress at the hospital, where many Covid-19 patients have been coming for their treatment.

“I’m a frontline worker battling the pandemic because of the nature of my profession. I was always overcome by anxiety that I’d contract SARS-COV-2, which causes Covid-19. Now, I feel liberated that I won’t get infected and I can focus on my job at hand,” she said.

Jacintha’s employer had booked an appointment for her at 9 am on Thursday after she expressed her eagerness to take the jab. However, she showed at the centre an hour in advance, as she was uncertain how long the process would take.

“The process turned out to be a breeze in the end. The DHA authorities took down my vital statistics, asked me some routine questions such as any previous history of illnesses, allergic reactions, pregnancy and related issues to ensure I’m eligibile for the test. I was kept under observation for 20 minutes after I received the jab to ensure that there were no side-effects. Fortunately, there was none and I was let off shortly after that,” she said.

Jacintha urged everybody to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry. Why not take the jab? The UAE Government has been extremely generous to offer the jab for free. We’re yet to see the bottom of the pandemic. Why not take the extra layer of protection being offered by the wise leadership of this great country?” she added.

Rochelle Makwana, another Dubai resident, who is in her 30s, said she took the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, as she had certain health issues and fulfiled the eligibility norms for the vaccination drive in the first phase.

Rochelle, who had booked an appointment at Nadd Al Hamar health centre, felt safe after taking the jab.

“The shot has allayed my fear and misgivings about the vaccine. I’ll continue to take all precautionary measures. However, I feel much safer now. I want to thank the benevolent leaders of the country for giving access to vaccination and that too free of cost.”

How to take a Covid-19 jab at four designated DHA centres:

Enter the centre and the staff will guide you to a separate section designated for the Covid-19 vaccination

Vaccinations are only provided to people who take appointments via online or through the DHA call centre. No one is allowed to walk in or take the jab without a prior appointment

Reach at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time

People who come in with their appointment details are registered and asked to wait in a designated hall

The medical staff will take registered people’s vital statistics and take them through a series of questions regarding their previous health history, allergic reactions etc

The registered people are made to sign a consent form

Covid-19 jab is administered at the appointed time

A person, who has received a jab, is made to wait for 20 minutes after being injected to ensure there are no side-effects, following which the person is free to leave the centre

People, who have received the jab, are advised to be back after three weeks for a booster dose. They will receive a text message on their mobile phones about the date and time of the second jab