Philippines Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes with his family members after receiving their vaccination cards. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Paul Raymund Cortes, the Philippine Consul-General, and his family members recently received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine while Filipino netizens have posted on social media their photos of receiving the jab to encourage more kabayans (compatriots) to get vaccinated.

“My family and I took the vaccine because we want to play our part in ending the pandemic,” said Cortes, who took the vaccine with his wife, Yasmin, and their two sons. Sharing the experience, Cortes told Gulf News: “We went to Al Qusais Health Centre and joined the queue for vaccination, along with hundreds of other residents of various nationalities. We lined up for less than two hours, including the time spent for registration and checking our vital parameters prior to the actual vaccination. The health officers were strict on checking blood pressure.”

Facts about the vaccine

With regard to rumours and misinformation circulating on social media regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Cortes cautioned everyone, particularly his kabayans, and said: “Rely only on UAE government social media sites (MoHAP, WAM, DHA, SEHA, Dubai Media Office), international organisations such as WHO, reputable scientific journals, official government websites and reputable media organisations only.”

He added: “Getting the vaccine does not mean we can flaunt irresponsibility and not observe health protocols. Please continue wearing face masks, wash or sanitise your hands frequently, avoid touching the face, drink plenty of fluids, take vitamin C, D and zinc, eat healthy, get enough sleep, observe physical distancing and avoid crowded places.”

‘Together, we recover’

Using the hashtag #together_we_recover, Filipino couple Art and Elle Los Banos captioned their photo after taking the vaccine: “UAE is the best country to be right now. Got our first free dose in Dubai #together_we_recover.” The couple added: “Note the tower at the back of the giant tent is the world’s tallest building.” The couple got vaccinated at Al Ittihad Health Centre, near the Gulf News office.

Dr Rex Venard Bacarra

Dr Rex Venard Bacarra, academic head and director for administrative services at Southville-Ras Al Khaimah, saw the post on Facebook. He said: “What encouraged me was the post on social media by Art and Elle Los Banos about how waiting time at Al Ittihad was short. There were signages that guided people where to go and the person in charge were knowledgeable about anything related to vaccination. I filled up and signed the consent form and while waiting I overheard other Filipinos in the queue praising the UAE Government for the efficient process and for making the vaccination free for all residents and citizens. My vaccination was done in 15 minutes.”

Shared and liked

Another Fiipino expat and Dubai resident, Ana Marasigan, immediately shared her photo on Facebook after taking the jab. She captioned it: “I received the Pfizer COVID-19 jab today and this photo was taken during my 20-minute post-vaccination observation period. I did not feel any side effects, aside from feeling a little dizzy, maybe because I was moving a lot. I am very much okay and I can say that there is nothing to worry about.” Her post was liked and shared by her friends, with other commenting how and where to get the vaccine.

Allan Michael Bautista, the chairman of the Philippine Business Council League of Freight Forwarders in the UAE and senior marketing manager at LBC Express, also shared a group photo on social media holding his vaccination card. He said: “We strongly recommend to our kabayans and fellow UAE residents to take advantage of the government initiative to get their vaccines and to do their part in the fight against the pandemic.”