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Gamal Suad Ali, 61, at the Customer Happiness Center in Jumeirah for vaccination on Wednesday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Several senior citizens in Dubai received the SARS COV-2 vaccine, SinoPharm, on Wednesday as part of an initiative organised by the UAE Community Development Authority (CDA) at various Customer Happiness Centers for Social Affairs across the emirate. On the first day of the campaign, which was launched at the Customer Happiness Centers of CDA across Dubai, more than 150 senior residents got their first dose of the vaccine at the centre in Jumeirah.

At one of the CDA Centers that witnessed a huge influx of UAE seniors, both expatriates and citizens, Hessa Al Tahlak, Assistant Undersecretary for Social Affairs in UAE’s CDA Ministry, told Gulf News: “This is part of the ‘#Together we recover’ initiative. The CDA has initiated two-day operations in every Emirate across the UAE. We are conducting the vaccination drive for all senior citizens from 9am-2am. We are hoping to get at least 150 vaccinations done at each centre in one day.” The CDA campaign, which will conclude tomorrow in Dubai, will move to other Emirates and continue in a similar fashion in each emirate.”

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Ismail Hussain Al Ahli, 54, receives the COVID-19 vaccine at the Customer Happiness Center in Jumeirah on Wednesday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The #Together we recover’ campaign has been launched nationwide by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NECDMA) in a collective move to combat COVID-19 and the vaccination drive is an integral part of the campaign.

Residents contacted over phone

A CDA spokesperson at the Jumeirah Customer Happiness Centre, where the campaign was on, explained: “We did some ground work and from our data base called up many senior citizens, both expatriates and Emiratis, to come and get their first doses. This is meant to draw out people who might still be thinking about it. All they need to have is their Emirates ID.”

The spokesperson said they were also accepting walk-in customers at the Jumeirah centre. Prior to administering the dose, nurses checked the vital parameters of the patient. Candidates with blood pressure higher than the permissible limit were turned away.

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Senior Emiratis at the CustomerHappiness Center in Jumeirah, Dubai, during the vaccination drive for elderly residents and Emiratis, on Wednesday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Abdulla Munem Ali, 51, a retired Emirati, who had come to renew his son’s social security card, decided to take the vaccine as a walk-in candidate. However, his blood pressure was high and so he was asked to come on another day. Indian expatriate Mirza Ahmed Busheiri, 81, who was very keen to have the first dose administered, was also asked to come on another day as his blood pressure had shot up.

However, 61-year-old Gamal Suad Ali, who drove down with his wife all the way from Al Qusais, was lucky as his vital parameters were fine and he received the first dose. “I think it is important that all senior citizens come forward and take the vaccine. The quicker this is completed the better it will be for all. We want to be a safe community,” said Ali

Ismail Hussain Al Ahli, 54, a retired Emirati, was another candidate who was able to receive his first dose as his vital parameters were perfect. Zar Khan Zaber Khan, 58, a driver with an Emirati family, was among the earliest candidates to receive the vaccine in Jumeirah at 9.40am on Wednesday. While waiting for the stipulated 20 minutes after receiving the vaccine, he told Gulf News: “I hail from Pakistan and have been working with this family since 1993. I am happy to get my first dose today and will take my second after 21 days. The CDA will tell me where to take the second dose.”

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Senior Emirati women come out in good numbers

In the ladies’ waiting room, by 11am, there was a group of at least ten ladies waiting their turn for the vaccine. Amina Al Shamsi had brought in her mother, Afra Al Shamsi, 67, for vaccination. Mariam Thani, 48, was also in queue for her first dose as she had received a call for the vaccination a day before. Masooma Jawahar Mansoor Masood, 63, was happy to get her first dose at 11.20am. “I am relieved to get the first dose and will continue wearing the mask and follow all COVID-19 protocol until I get my second dose in three weeks. Even after that, doctors are advising to be cautious. Together, we will be able to fight COVID-19 if we are all responsible,” she said.

Senior citizens Salama Matar Mubed Sultan, 76 and Hamda Mohammad Ahmed, 78, waited patiently after registration for their first dose.