A general view of the Sharjah Expo Centre.
Syed Shayaan Bakht, Staff Reporter
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has been urging UAE residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine shots to curb the spread of the virus in the country.
Authorities have launched a national campaign to encourage people, especially the elderly, and those with chronic diseases to come forward for the vaccination drive.
The ministry has elaborate plans to vaccinate more than 50 per cent of the country's population against COVID-19 by the end of the first quarter.
Even the UAE leaders, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, urged members of the public to take the vaccine shots for a healthy society.
Now with the vaccine being administered all across the UAE, Gulf Today staff members over the past few days have also volunteered to take part in the drive. They got the first shot of Sinopharm vaccine at the Sharjah Expo Centre.
Agha Riaz poses for a photo in Sharjah.
The emirate’s venue for mass events has been turned into a prime vaccination centre. All those who think there are hidden charges and procedures for getting the jab are mistaken. There aren’t any hidden charges. It is being administered for free. There is no appointment required.
Gulf Today's Pakistani staffer Agha Riaz, 49, went after his work shift to the Expo Centre for the jab. Riaz said, “Sharjah’s arrangements are very impressive. Volunteers are very helpful before the vaccine is being administered on you.
“Doctors carry out a thorough consultation for up to 10-15 minutes. They check your blood pressure and ask about any illness or whether you are prone to allergies.” Riaz said, “Then they administer the vaccine on you… which feels more or less like a prick on the skin. “You are told to wait for a while as a formal procedure to check on health.”
Riaz assured other that it is absolutely normal to go for the vaccine shots. Riaz thanked the leadership of the UAE and His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah for turning the Expo Centre into a major vaccination hub.
Egyptian staffer Sohaila Ahmed, 26, said, “It is like taking any other vaccine. Of course you need to take precautionary measures and follow the social distancing rules…”
Sohaila said, “The arrangements at Expo Centre are top quality… The friendly volunteers guide you through the procedures.” “After taking the shot, I was given a vaccine card, which shows the date of my next jab.” She said, “I am excited and I insist that everyone should get the vaccine shots.
“Remember, we all are responsible for the well-being of our community. We must protect ourselves and others as well.”
Another staffer, Mohammad Imran Hosen, 31, who went over the weekend said, “It was normal. There is nothing to be scared of… The shot feels like a prick on the skin. There is mild pain in the area of the shot and that’s it.
“The health officials ask you to wait for a while and ask you whether you are feeling nauseatic, which is rare.”
Gulf Today also encourages all members of society to get the COVID-19 vaccine jab for protecting the wider society.
Nedal Al Qadi said, “I feel happy for the shot. I am sure the vaccine would be effective… And I don’t feel any side effects as people were saying.”
The Expo Centre Sharjah began receiving an increasing number of people to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ministry's strategy is to increase the capacity and add new facilities to the vaccination campaign all across the UAE.
As of Thursday, Jan.14, UAE has administered over 1,527,833 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with a rate of 15.45 doses per 100 people. The ministry recorded 3,382 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. Additionally, 2,671 individuals have recovered and three deaths were recorded.
Using state-of-the-art medical testing equipment, the ministry has carried out 134, 768 COVID-19 tests in the last 24 hours.
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for all community members, except the following categories:
• Pregnant women
• Nursing mothers
• People with immunodeficiency diseases
• Women planning to become pregnant in the near future (3 months from taking the vaccine)
• Children under the age of 18 years
• Those who are allergic (to any vaccine, food, medicine, or substance or those who carry self-injectable adrenaline)
Those who wish to get the vaccine shots can go directly to healthcare centres during working hours, without the need for prior appointment.
"Since vaccination requirements vary by country and some require second doses, it is important to visit a travel clinic at least one month prior to travel," said Dr Alia Mohammad Al Dallal.
Member states are struggling to contain a third wave of the epidemic and kick-start vaccine programmes slowed by a shortfall in deliveries, and Britain has warned the bloc against resorting "vaccine nationalism."
The announcement comes as the Ministry of Health and Prevention on Sunday expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility in line with the UAE's proactive policy to ensure the health and safety of all community members.
Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council (SMC) Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, on Wednesday inaugurated the 21st edition of the Sharjah International Narrator Forum (SINF).
Mrs Pillay’s husband, Mahesh, bought the winning ticket under her name and split the ticket cost with his 10 Indian, 1 Lebanese and 1 Filipino colleagues from Rais Hassan Saadi, a shipping and freight company in Dubai.
The health ministry stressed in a statement on Wednesday its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.