Vaccines offer the most effective method to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 pandemic. It will help protect us and others from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has infected more than 90 million people and killed nearly 2 million worldwide.
The virus can be lethal, so there’s every reason to vaccinate against COVID-19. We have collated all the questions surrounding the vaccine and the vaccination process to take an informed decision. It will also allay your fears.
Should I take the COVID vaccine?
Yes. A vaccine is the only way to arrest the spread of coronavirus.
What are the vaccines in the UAE?
Sinopharm from China and Pfizer-BioNTech from the United States, both approved in December 2020. In January 2021, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention approved the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, for emergency use, making it the third such vaccine to be approved for use in the UAE. Earlier in February, Dubai approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Which vaccine is administered in Abu Dhabi’s Seha facilities?
Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) facilities deliver Sinopharm, which is an inactivated vaccine. The vaccine was registered in the UAE on December 9, 2020, following Phase III clinical trials in Abu Dhabi.
How effective is the Sinopharm vaccine?
The UAE trials of the Sinopharm vaccine showed an 86% efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, according to the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company.
What is the vaccine given by Dubai Healthcare Authority?
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
How effective is the Pfizer vaccine?
At least two preliminary data analyses in Phase-III trials showed the Pfizer vaccine is more than 90% effective and is safe.
Who should get vaccinated?
The vaccine is recommended for most people aged 18 years and above.
Who should not have the vaccine?
Children below 18 years should not be given the vaccine, since there’s not enough data on the vaccine’s effect on them.
Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers will not be given the vaccine. So also for women who plan to get pregnant within the next three months, according to the Dubai Health Authority.
Will the vaccine protect older people?
It will. The efficacy in people over 65 was found to be 94 per cent. The Pfizer trials included participants aged up to 85. The vaccine hasn’t been tested in people over 85.
Why is the vaccine not given to children?
Because it is not known whether the vaccine will protect children. The Pfizer trials included only people aged 18 or older. In September, children aged under 16 were included. A new trial on children as young as 12 has now been launched.
What is the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccine is free in the UAE.
Is vaccination compulsory in the UAE?
COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary for residents and citizens.
How do I get the vaccine?
In Abu Dhabi, no appointment is required. People can go directly to the designated facilities during working hours (8am to 8pm) to register and get the vaccine immediately. Don’t forget to take your Emirates ID.
In Dubai, people have to register through the DHA app or call 800 342.
Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine in Abu Dhabi?
Seha is administering COVID-19 vaccines at numerous locations. These include three large vaccination centres.
- Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal
- Al Ain Convention Centre
- Dubai Parks and Resorts Field Hospital
How do I book a vaccine appointment in Abu Dhabi?
You can call Seha toll-free number or 80050 or visit www.seha.ae to schedule an appointment.
■ Women will also be required to do a pregnancy test.
■ You will undergo an assessment to confirm eligibility and sign a consent form.
■ You will be given the first dose.
■ You will need to wait at the vaccination centre for 15 minutes to conduct a post-vaccination evaluation.
■ After you are cleared, you will receive the second dose appointment, which will be three to four weeks after the first dose.
Where do I get a COVID-19 vaccine in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah?
You can get vaccinated for free at these locations in Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain
Do I qualify in the first phase of vaccinations?
In Dubai, the Pfizer vaccine is rolled out for high-risk individuals and frontline workers. They include the following:
- Senior citizens and residents over 60 years
- People with chronic diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, liver and kidney diseases, hypertension, obesity and people with a BMI of 35 or more.
- Frontliners in the public and private sector
- People of determination
- Employees in sensitive and vital positions
I have had COVID-19. Can I take the vaccine?
Yes. But the person should take the vaccination only after three months from the date of coronavirus infection. The chances of reinfection are very low in the first three months since the body will have antibodies that fought the virus during the infection.
Is it safe to take the COVID-19 vaccine, if I am vaccinated for flu?
Yes. But the COVID-19 vaccination should be taken only after four weeks after the flu vaccine.
Can I take two different types of COVID-19 vaccines?
No. It is not safe to take two different types of COVID-19 vaccination.
Is it safe for people with chronic diseases to take the vaccine?
Yes. The vaccine is safe and effective for people with chronic diseases. But please consult your doctor before taking the vaccines to avoid complications resulting from your condition or medications.
I am on multiple medications. Is it safe to take the COVID-19 vaccine?
Consult your doctor before deciding to take the vaccine. The doctor will check your medical history and medications. Also, inform the doctor if you have allergies.
- You should tell the doctor before vaccination
- If you have a history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease
- If you suffer from any immunodeficiency disease or any medication that weakens your immunity.
- If you are allergic to any vaccine, food, medicine or substance.
- If you carry self-injectable adrenaline.
- If you have a fever or any such symptoms.
■ If you meet the criteria, you will receive a text message with instructions and tips
■ On arrival at the vaccine centre, your vital signs will be check
■ Read the consent form
■ You will receive the first dose of the vaccine
■ You will receive an SMS 15 minutes after the vaccination
■ The SMS will provide details of your vaccination certificate and the date and time for the second dose of the vaccination
■ You must wait at the clinic for 20 minutes after the vaccination
■ The second dose will be given after 21 days
How many doses are required?
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two injections, given 21 days apart, to prepare the immune system to fight off the coronavirus. The efficacy after the first dose is 52 per cent, and it rises to around 95 per cent after the second dose, according to the New York Times.
Can I delay my second dose or reschedule my vaccination date?
To derive maximum benefit from the vaccine, the second dose should be administered according to the schedule.
What happens if people miss their second dose?
Two doses are required, and the second is needed to gain full immunity.
How will you feel after vaccination? Are there any side-effects?
There will be very mild side effects as with any vaccine when the immune system is activated. Symptoms include low-grade fever, headache, muscle ache, chills and fatigue. It’s because the immune system is responding to the vaccine. Please note that this doesn’t mean you have COVID-19 infection.
If I’m vaccinated, am I exempt from a PCR test for travel or pre-surgical procedures in Dubai?
No. There’s no exemption.
Can I stop wearing a facemask after taking the COVID-19 vaccine?
No, you will need to keep wearing the facemask, and you must follow all precautionary measures unless there is another official instruction or announcement from the health authorities.
How long will the immunity last?
The vaccine provides immune memory, which is the immune system’s ability to quickly recognise and attack a pathogen the body has previously encountered. The vaccine can do that if it comes across the coronavirus again. But how long will that happen? It’s difficult to say since the vaccine has been rolled out only recently.
Do I resume normal life after vaccination?
All safety protocols and infection control measures must be strictly followed even after vaccination. So continue wearing masks, wash hands frequently and observe social distancing.
Will the vaccines protect against the new variant?
The vaccines should protect from the new strain as it targets the spike protein, although more evidence is required. When more mutations occur, the vaccine may need to be modified.
How soon will immunity develop after vaccination?
Immunity builds within four weeks after the first dose.
Will the vaccine end the pandemic?
Not very soon, but it will eventually help end the pandemic. Even if the vaccines halt transmission and the symptoms, high immunity levels are required to break the chain of transmission. So it’s difficult to put a time frame on when the pandemic will end.