NAT 201227 COVID VACCINE-5-1609160619867
A resident getting Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at Zabeel Primary Health Centre on Sunday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: It was smooth sailing at the Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA’s) Primary Health Centre in Zabeel as national and expatriates walked in by appointment for their Pfizer-BioNtech vaccination for COVID-19, which has a proven efficacy of up to 95 per cent.

The entire process is being managed very efficiently at the centre while observing the COVID-19 protocols strictly and candidates walked in one by one for the vaccine.

The vaccination, which is free-of-charge for all Dubai residents, is given in two doses within a gap of 21 days. it is being administered after residents make a call on the DHA hotline 800342. A unique MRN (Medical Registration Number) is issued. Based on this MRN, residents are able to taken an appointment at the nearest Primary Health Centre through the DHA app. The vaccinations are being administered at the six DHA Primary Health Centres at Zabeel, Al Mizhar, Nad Al Hammar, Al Barsha, Uptown Mirdif and Hatta Hospital.

The Dubai Health Authority rolled out the vaccination campaign last week in coordination with the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management and the COVID-19 Command and Control Centre. Currently this is the first phase of the vaccination campaign where focus is on Emirati citizens, residents above 60 years of age, residents with co-morbidities and people of determination are being administered the vaccine doses. The gap between two doses of the vaccine is 21 days.

NAT 201227 COVID VACCINE-3-1609160617255
A paramedic getting the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine ready before administering to a resident at Zabeel Primary Health Centre on Sunday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Despite the vaccination drive, DHA and all UAE authorities have requested all UAE residents not to drop their guard and continue to observe all COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks, hand washing, observing social distance and use of hand sanitisers. In the meantime, the DHA has stepped its testing drive, continuing to conduct over 80,000 PCR tests per day.

Maximum residents must get vaccinated

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Farida Al Khaja, CEO of Clinical Support Services and Nursing Sector, DHA, explained why residents need to come in large numbers to take the vaccine. She said: “It is preferable to give the vaccine to the largest percentage of society in order to achieve sufficient immunity required to prevent the spread of the virus. Priority is given to people who are most at risk of infection or people at risk of serious complications from infection and then to the remaining segments of society.”

Above 18 residents are eligible

Dr Khaja added that while the ongoing first phase covered Emiratis as well as residents above the age of 60 years, people of determination, people with chronic diseases, front-liner health workers in the public and private sector and people in occupations with the highest COVID-19 risk, other segments of society would be eligible for the vaccine in the next phase. “People above the age of 18 can take the vaccine provided they do not have any contraindications and they need to consult their family physician before taking the vaccine.”

Excluded category

Dr Khaja also provided a list of residents who were excluded from the list for taking the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. These include:

• Nursing mothers

• Pregnant women,

• Children below the age of 18 years

• People with an immunodeficiency disease

• People who are allergic to any vaccine, food, medicine or substance or those who carry a self-injectable adrenalin

• Women planning to get pregnant in the near future (3 months from the date of taking the vaccine)

Consult your doctor before vaccination

Dr Khaja said that all community members must consult their family physician and they must discuss their medical history, current list of medications and allergies, if any, with their health care provider. She also cautioned people to continue observing the COVID-19 protocols. “Even after taking both the doses for the vaccine, it is important to continue to take all precautionary measures including wearing a face mask.”