Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid: UAE expats rush to vaccinate kids between 12 and 15 years before summer break Filed on May 17, 2021

(Reuters file)

Government's bid to inoculate adolescents excites parents amid an aggressive vaccination drive.

The news of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine getting approved for use for adolescents between 12 and 15 years in the UAE has excited several parents. Many families have been making calls to the health authorities since Sunday morning to seek an appointment and know the procedure to get their children vaccinated before the summer break starts in the first week of July.

“I’ve two children. My son, 18, is already vaccinated and now I am hoping to get my 14-year-old daughter vaccinated too. It’d be such a relief. She is the only one left in our family,” said Adila Abdullah, a Malaysian national, who strongly advocates vaccination against Covid-19. “It’s only through collective effort that we will be able to defeat this pandemic. It won’t matter if I or a few others get vaccinated. To achieve herd immunity, it is vital that everyone takes part in this drive and make the UAE’s campaign successful,” she added.

Parents across nationalities have hailed the decision of the health authorities in the UAE to allow vaccinations for children, like in the US. In fact, the move has got families with younger children wondering if they too will get to inoculate their little ones anytime soon.

“I’ve a four-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter, and I want both of them to get Covid-19 vaccine. We’ve been shielding them from infection by making them stay indoors. They spent all of their summer vacations last year cocooned at home. It was the same during other breaks of the year as well: autumn, winter, and spring. They miss mingling with friends and in-door play areas. I feel if they're vaccinated, they'll be better protected, and I can allow them to resume their usual play activities. As a result, I’m keen on watching the news and following the trials being done by Pfizer in the US,” said Agape Smith, a Jamaican national.

Nidhi Agarwal, an Indian expatriate, too, is a strong proponent of vaccination. “We’re a family of six: me, my husband, my in-laws, and two children aged 12 and 17. We registered for vaccinations as early as January this year and got the jab. It feels safer. Both my mother- and father-in-law are heart patients, and I am diabetic. We understand that vaccination will help our bodies fight this infection and I’m now keen on getting my daughter and son vaccinated too.”

Poe Anis, an American national and a mother of two boys, 17 and 18, is also happy to hear the news of Pfizer being available for teenage children. “Even though both my sons have already taken the vaccine, I’m happy to hear that several friends of mine with younger children will be able to benefit from this. My son is getting into university in the US. I am happy he is already vaccinated, which could protect him. I just hope the US recognises the Sinopharm vaccine since the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already done it,” she said.

Where to get free Pfizer jabs in UAE

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was recently cleared for use among the 12 to 15 age group in the US after a trial showed it was safe and 100 per cent effective. The company is now running trials in the US for children aged six months to 11 years. Through these trials, investigators will estimate the dosage sweet spot that does not provoke too strong a reaction among children but at the same time give them the highest level of protection. Data from this trial is expected as early as summer or autumn of this year.

The UAE has administered over 11million (m) doses of Covid-19 vaccines. The health authorities aim to vaccinate all eligible candidates by the end of this year, a drive that could be successful prior to that.


Suneeti Ahuja Kohli

Suneeti Ahuja-Kohli has been in Dubai long enough to call it her spiritual home. She loves to travel but plans to settle down in Koi Samui, Thailand eventually to spend her sunset years by the sea. For now, she writes frequently on personal finance, retirement planning, business news and features, health and almost anything assigned by her editor. Her sojourns can be followed on instagram (suneetiahujakohli), news and views on Twitter @suneetiahuja, and for the rest, there’s a Facebook account.

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