People on expired visit visas were allowed to take the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine at an Indian association in Abu Dhabi. Currently, only UAE citizens and residents are offered the jabs as part of the Covid-19 national vaccination programme.
Indian Islamic Centre (IIC), in coordination with the local health authorities, carried out a 12-hour vaccination drive on Friday. According to the office-bearers, nearly 4,200 people, including more than 50 with expired entry permits, took the shot till 9pm.
“When the vaccination drive started, a few people with expired visit visas came. When we were about to turn them away, the generous government officials allowed them to take the jab. They told us to allow people on visit visas, expired visas and Emirates ID to take the vaccine. The only precondition was that they should be here for the next 21 days to take the second dose. They must not leave the country prior to being fully vaccinated,” said IIC vice-president Abdusalam TK.
The centre had set up 16 counters, including two exclusively for women. The drive was managed by a 75-member team from Tamouh Healthcare and more than 30 volunteers from the centre.
“We had two separate queues – one for people who had done prior registration and another for walk-ins. This ensured the entire process per individual was completed within 30 minutes,” he added.
Members of the community were delighted to have such initiative being held at the centre.
Hamza Naduvil, a long-time UAE resident, was the first person to take the jab by 9 am. He lauded the government and the local authorities for providing free vaccines to everyone.
“When everyone gets fully vaccinated, the country will emerge stronger from this pandemic.”
Muhammad Amin Nathani, a businessman who took the jab with his family, said: “This is an example of joint effort by the community and the government. So, that’s why we are here.”
The centre will now offer the second dose next month.
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