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UAE nationals are among the priority groups being covered in the current phase of the vaccination campaign in Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Four categories of people continue to be given priority during the current phase of COVID-19 vaccination in Dubai, a Dubai Health Authority (DHA) official has clarified to Gulf News.

Dr Hend Al Awadhi, Head of Health Promotion and Education at DHA, said DHA is continuing to focus on the three COVID-19 vaccines that were being administered on a priority basis for the following categories of people in Dubai:

Dr Hend Al Awadhi

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1. UAE nationals

2. Frontline and vital sector employees

3. People of determination

4. Residents who are 60 years and above and residents with chronic diseases who hold a valid residence permit issued by Dubai.

Age group-based eligibility:

Sinopharm — For those who are 16 years and above.

Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine — For those who are 18 years and above.

Oxford-AstraZeneca — For those who are between 18 and 60 years.

Special note to women

Dr Al Awadhi added that women who intended to receive the vaccine had to ensure the following four facts:

• They are not pregnant.

• They are not breastfeeding.

• They are not planning to get pregnant within the next three months after taking the vaccine.

Al Awadhi added that everyone who intended to take the vaccine had to ensure the following:

1. They ought not to have taken any other COVID-19 vaccine previously — either first dose or second dose. (Both doses have to be of the same vaccine.)

2. They do not suffer from a severe allergy or have a known hypersensitivity to any of the vaccine components (Anaphylaxis).

3. They have not taken any other vaccine in the last two weeks.

4. They have completed three months from the date of confirmation of having contracted COVID-19.

Common doubts answered

Dr Al Awadhi answered questions related to many of the doubts being asked by community members:

Do I need to continue with the precautionary measures after receiving both doses of the vaccine?

Dr Al Awadhi said: “Yes. Everyone must continue following all the precautionary measures such as wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing and following regular hand hygiene even after taking both the doses of the vaccine as it takes some time after the second dose for the body to build immunity against COVID-19. Once we approach herd immunity through vaccination, we can reevaluate the use of masks. Presently, the advise is to get the vaccine and continue following all precautionary measures.”

I recently recovered from COVID-19. Am I eligible to begin my vaccination process?

Dr Al Awadhi explained: “Research points out that individuals who are infected with COVID-19 develop natural immunity and have antibodies that can last from three months to up to eight months. Therefore, they are given the first dose of the vaccine after three months. This ensures that individuals who are not infected are given priority so that they receive immunity through vaccination.”

Whether the person has natural immunity or immunity through vaccination, it is important to continue all preventative precautions,” reiterated Dr Al Awadhi.

I got COVID-19 between the dosing schedule (after the first dose and before the second dose). What should I do?

For Pfizer-BioNtech, Sinopharm and Oxford-AstraZeneca, individuals who have been asymptomatic or had mild COVID-19 symptoms and have completed their full isolation period (minimum ten days or longer depending upon their condition) can take the second dose of the vaccine if they do not have any symptoms. Even if they need to delay the second dose by a few days due to their illness, it is fine as long as they take the second dose. They should opt for the second dose of the vaccine only after their doctor’s approval.

Those who had to be admitted to hospital for COVID-19 or had moderate-to-severe COVID-19 infection must seek the opinion of their medical team with regard to when they should take the second dose of the vaccine.

In order to book an appointment for vaccination, individuals who fall under the priority category can call the DHA’s 24x7 toll-free number 800 342.