Medical staff guide visitors entering the Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple to receive vaccine in Dubai. AP
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Over the past few days, the crowds of young Southeast Asian workers are jostling for a place in line outside to get what has become a coveted prize: COVID-19 vaccine.
The temple management has organised 5,000 shots of the Chinese-made vaccine to be offered to people of all ages and backgrounds.
In normal times the crowds of workers line outside the Sikh temple for free meals from "langar,” the practice of serving hot, home-cooked vegetarian food to anyone in need.
In UAE there are about 50,000 Sikhs, who feel that this is the only way they can serve the community in this time of the pandemic.
The Sikhs have stepped up to the challenge. The powerful trustees of Dubai’s Sikh house of worship struck a deal with the Tamouh health care company to administer the Chinese jab to thousands of residents - drivers, grocery store clerks, doctors - who may otherwise struggle to get vaccines. Those being vaccinated at the temple don't have to be Sikhs - the drive was open to all.
There was a palpable sense of relief as men and women streamed out of the golden temple into the bright winter sun.
The UAE, with a vaccination campaign that trails only Israel, has administered 4.4 million shots in the country of some 10 million.
The programme is expected to cover about 30,000 staff including frontliners involved in combating COVID-19.
The authorities said on Tuesday that all the COVID-19 vaccines available in the UAE are very effective in preventing severe symptoms, hospitalisation and reduce the mortality rate.
The ministry added that over 4-6 weeks the vaccine rollout will be focused on elderly people and those with chronic diseases who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
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