Abu Dhabi: Residents of Abu Dhabi who require vaccination for travel purposes will only be able to avail of these services at public health-care clinics from tomorrow (Sunday), the Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS) announced in a statement sent today (Saturday).
The vaccinations will no longer be offered at the Disease Prevention and Screening Centres (DPSC), following a strategic decision to increase the efficiency of the visa screening process at these facilities, the AHS statement added.
Residents can instead visit one of 11 clinics spread across the emirate for vaccines against yellow fever, rabies, menigococcal diseases like meningitis, malaria, and influenza. These centres will also provide the vaccinations that are mandatory before going for Haj or Umrah.
In Abu Dhabi, all public health-care facilities are operated by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha). Public clinics, including the DPSCs, are specifically managed by the Ahs, a part of Seha.
The travel vaccine is available in Dubai at almost all the private and public hospitals.
As Gulf News reported last month, residents have been facing long queues at the two DPSCs in the capital, which are located on Hazza Bin Zayed Street and Musaffah area. Dr Mubarak Al Darmaki, DPSC director at AHS, said at the time that the two centres see between 3,000 to 4,500 visa applicants on a daily basis, and that the AHS is working to increase the centres’ capacity for visa medical tests.
Travel vaccinations were earlier available at DPSCs, but they will now only be provided at AHS clinics, which do not offer visa medical tests for residents.
The statement also recommended that residents get the required travel vaccinations at least six weeks before travelling. The elderly and people with chronic diseases have been urged to take additional precautions.
“Protecting travellers and pilgrims during their stay abroad is [one of our] top priorities, and we urge travellers to take the necessary precautions, especially before travelling to countries where infectious diseases are prevalent,” said Dr Omar Al Jaberi, chief medical officer at the AHS.
Residents who have recently undergone visa medical tests in Abu Dhabi city said that they hoped the decision would ease the rush at the visa medical centres.
“To be honest, there were not too many people waiting to receive travel vaccines, so I am not sure how this will shorten the queues for the visa medical test. But if it means that more counters are made available to handle the visa applicants, it could be a very positive step,” said S.S, a media executive.