Covid-19 vaccine in UAE: Senior citizens relieved

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Dubai - The introduction of the Covid vaccine in the UAE shows a ray of light at the end of the tunnel.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 6:55 PM

Last updated: Thu 17 Dec 2020, 12:29 PM

The very idea of having a registered Covid vaccine in the UAE is comforting for senior citizens who are over 60 or older - an age group especially hit hard by the pandemic.

Vijay, 66, who has been in the UAE since 2004, said: “Although I do not have any major health issue, I underwent a heart surgery in 2013 and the doctors have put two stents. The news of availability of the vaccine is a source of great relief for the elderly as I am hoping it would help normalise life and senior citizens would also be able to move around freely. I am now waiting for my family members to take the shots and that is when I will also get myself checked to see if I can go for the jab.”

Another resident Dominic Fernandes, 79, said having the vaccine in the UAE is a very “encouraging news” and that it showed how the government is doing its best to take care of its people.

“The introduction of the Covid vaccine in the UAE shows a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. We are hopeful that we will be able to come out of this pandemic soon, thanks to the efforts of the UAE government. The huge demand of the vaccine can be seen from the queue of the residents excited to take the shot and I hope I can also join the line soon. However, since I have blood pressure, I will wait for some more time and see if I am eligible to take it.”

Doctor's nod is important

Since there's no upper age limit spelt out in the guidelines for taking the jab, doctors have said that several elderly have been administered the shot after a thorough examination.

Dr Naresh Lal, specialist family medicine at NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain said before giving the shot, doctors check the vital stats and blood pressure of the person. “We have had quite a number of senior citizens in their 70s who happily took the shot and didn’t have any side effects. The Covid-19 vaccine can be offered to residents aged 18 years and older. In some cases, those aged between 15 and 17 are being given the vaccine after a thorough medical evaluation. For adults and seniors with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and asthma, the vaccine can be administered only after their physicians' nod."

He added that adults who had mild infection of Covid-19 previously are also eligible for the vaccine, “However, if the infection was moderate to severe and the person was hospitalised then the vaccine would be given after conducting an antibody test and it will depend on the physician’s discretion.”

Dr Rehab Ahmed, specialist, internal medicine at Medcare Hospital Sharjah also confirmed that elderly can take the registered Covid vaccine jab and that there is no upper age limit to take vaccines.

However, she said that the elderly need to check with doctors regarding the eligibility of taking the vaccine.

“It is the doctor who will decide, according to the person’s general condition and after checking the individual’s medical history, whether he or she can take the vaccine," she said.

Dr Amaka Kate Uzu, family medicine consultant at Bareen International Hospital, said that at their facility, there weren't too many seniors coming in for the jab.

"Since we started rolling out Covid-19 vaccination programme at Bareen International Hospital, we have seen more middle-aged patients come to us than older age groups," said Dr Uzu.

Who can't take the shot

According to the UAE health authorities, some groups of people who cannot take the shot include those with unstable blood pressure and heart rate, pregnant women, anyone with a history of severe allergic reactions to vaccine, convulsions, epilepsy, mental illness, coagulation dysfunction, anyone who has taken other vaccines within the last 14 days or people with a recent history of Guillain-Barré syndrome or transverse myelitis (both are autoimmune diseases).

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