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Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE combats coronavirus: Don't put off your kids' vaccination due to pandemic

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on May 17, 2020 | Last updated on May 17, 2020 at 06.11 am
Combating coronavirus, covid19, kids’ vaccination, pandemic, UAE

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Medical experts warn that immunisation delays beyond a point could lead to health problems for a child.

Paediatricians across the UAE are urging parents to keep their kids' vaccinations up to date, saying that precautionary measures are being taken to keep them safe during visits to health centres.

The reminder comes as a number of UAE parents - who normally would not miss vaccinations - say they are worried about taking their children to a doctor's clinic amid the Covid-19 situation.

Medical experts warn that immunisation delays beyond a point could lead to health problems for a child.

Dr Shahid Gauhar, head of paediatrics and neonatology at Prime Hospital, said: "Vaccinations can be delayed for a maximum period of up to two weeks.  But in case of mandatory vaccines - like diphtheria, polio and tetanus booster, typhoid or hepatitis A - if people are delaying it beyond a certain period, then the immunity of the baby gets compromised and can lead to worrying situations later."

To allay fears and keep families safe as they head out for vaccinations, the Ministry of Health and Prevention has set up drive-through clinics across the country.

Through these facilities, parents will be able to get their children vaccinated without having to step out of their cars. The drive-through option is available at Mohap's health promotion centres.

Canadian expat Rohini Caesar reiterates her trust in the level of care and sanitary measures in the UAE but said all necessary protective measures must still be taken during immunisation visits.

"For Harper's vaccinations, we will cover her up as much as possible and put her in a baby carrier to prevent her from touching anything and give her a quick bath upon returning just as a precaution," said Caesar, the mother of the 10-month-old baby.

Russian expat Liara Svalova, a mother to a toddler, said she wouldn't compromise with mandatory vaccines but would likely skip visits for optional ones.

"My son is 2.5 years old and he is due for hepatitis A vaccines that I don't intend to miss. But for the optional one for meningococcal that may come up soon, I believe it can be pushed for a later date," she said.

Many hospitals in the country are also implementing safety measures to ease parents' worries. They usually separate patients, placing those who are sick in certain areas and accommodating those in good health in others. Some facilities are scheduling vaccinations only on specific dates to limit the number of people on site.

How to stay safe as you get kids vaccinated

>Opt for the drive-through vaccination facility offered by the Ministry of Health and Prevention

>Plan your visit and avoid rush hour

>Leave the other kids -who are not scheduled for vaccination - at home

>Observe social distancing

>Wrap a sterile cloth around the child's face carefully if no mask fits him or her properly  

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