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Gulf News staff members receive COVID-19 vaccine at their office premises near Safa Park, Dubai, in collaboration with Tammouh Healthcare, on Wednesday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: People working with mass media outlets may not be medical workers, but they too have to work on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19. That is why getting this section of the society vaccinated is also crucial in the battle against the dreaded virus.

On Wednesday, at least 195 Gulf News employees — editors, reporters, photographers, marketing and sales executives, human resources and circulation staff, print technicians and newsboys — all rolled up their sleeves and took their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Medical staff from MediQ Healthcare LLC (a subsidiary of Tamouh Healthcare LLC), came to the Gulf News headquarters to administer the vaccine. The vaccination was free and voluntary. Four stations, manned by skilled nurses, were set up for the inoculation while two other staff members took down employees’ information. A couple of more nurses were assigned to make a note of the vital parameters while other staff members provided details of the vaccine.

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In the first round of vaccination on Wednesday, a total of 195 Gulf News staff members were inoculated. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Smooth procedure

The entire process took around five minutes for each individual, said Bangladeshi expat Kabir Ahmed, 42, an office boy who has been working with Gulf News for more than 15 years. “First, I filled up the information and consent form. Then I went to register myself and showed my Emirates ID. The nurse asked some basic questions about my health and explained the type of vaccine that was to be administered. The injection was done smoothly,” he said.

Patrick Masahud, Gulf News Digital Product lead, added he was thankful he did not have to get into the queue at a medical centre to take the vaccine. “Gulf News arranged it for us and the procedure ran smoothly. I will get the second dose on February 17,” he said.

“It was really efficient. After they (the medical staff) took down my details, I took the jab and there was hardly a mark. It was a completely painless and stress-free event,” said Matthew Smith, Gulf News Sports Editor.

Safe and practical

Gulf News photographer Ahmed Ramzan said: “Having a feel that it will be a necessity in the future for any local or international events that I will cover and also for travel, I wanted to make sure I got vaccinated immediately. Basically, I just wanted to make my life easier and safer.”

Care for newsboys and readers

Sulfi Ali Ponnachethvil, 44, from India, said he will be now more confident and worry-free going around Dubai and the neighbouring emirates, delivering the newspaper to loyal Gulf News subscribers. “I will still continue to follow the health and safety protocols like wearing face mask and frequent hand sanitisation, but now I have better protection against the virus. The vaccine was not only for me, but also for the safety of our loyal subscribers who read the newspaper daily,” he said.

Well-being of employees

Abdul Hamid Ahmad, CEO, Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director Publications, said: “Gulf News has always made sure to look after the well-being of all its employees. This drive to vaccinate them is part of ensuring that they are in good health always, in line with the UAE government’s efforts to vaccinate all citizens and residents in the country. In fact, we are also taking care of our readers and subscribers by extending the vaccinations to all of our sales boys and distributors, who deliver the newspaper every day. We would like to thank Tamouh Healthcare for helping us to make this campaign a success.”

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A Gulf News employee being vaccinated at the office premises near Safa Park in Dubai on Wednesday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

K.C. Nissar, Director, Human Resources, congratulated Gulf News staff who took the jab and reminded them “not to let their guard down” against COVID-19. “We should continue to observe all health and safety protocols, including wearing of face masks, frequently washing and sanitising our hands, as well as observing adequate physical distancing,” he added.

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Potru Raju, Director, Circulation Sales and Distribution, noted: “We care for our boys. We appreciate their dedication over the years in delivering Gulf News. They are always on the run in all kinds of weather. They work 365 days a year to get Gulf News delivered to subscribers’ doors on time. Now, the readers will also be worry-free that the newspaper they read is being delivered by someone who has been vaccinated against the virus.”

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Employees queue up for vaccination at the Gulf News office premises in Dubai on Wednesday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Take the vaccine now

Dr Partha Banerjee, CEO of MediQ Healthcare LLC, said: “We have seen how the pandemic has shattered the world economy, but the UAE immediately took the bold step to secure the health of its citizens and residents. Taking the vaccine is actually saving an individual and the nation. The country needs protection and we need to support its visionary leadership. The vaccine is free, so why not take it? Even the UAE leaders took the vaccine first to ensure that it was completely safe and good for the public.”