Pfizer vaccine UAE: Dubai residents dial up hotline

Dubai - Phase I of vaccination drive for senior citizens and those suffering from chronic illness and are aged above 18



By Nandini Sircar

Published: Wed 23 Dec 2020, 12:40 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Dec 2020, 1:11 PM

Curious Dubai residents have been trying to call up the hotline number (800342) since Wednesday morning in a bid to book their appointments for the new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The vaccination drive is likely to be rolled out in the emirate on Wednesday.

Interested residents were guided to an automated recorded voice message that explained that this is the Phase I of the vaccination campaign, which is only meant for senior citizens, any individual suffering from a chronic illness and is aged above 18 years and frontline health workers.

Elderly Dubai residents, who have a valid visa, are eligible for the jab.

Residents, who have been trying to call the hotline number, are being asked to take an online eligibility survey. Appointments will be booked for them, only if they tick all the boxes.

Anirban Nandi, an Indian national and a Dubai resident, told Khaleej Times: “I want to get the Pfizer jab. I called up the hotline number and was asked to fill up a form based on which an individual is selected or rejected. The eligibility norms are being cross-checked at the vaccination centres.”

Sources said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be made available at four health centres – Zabeel, Al Barsha, Nad Al Hammar and Al Mamzar – in Dubai.

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said, “I have an elderly mother at home. She is 73 years old and I want her to get vaccinated. If my wife and I are eligible, we’d also like to take the jab. However, I’m given to understand that this is the first phase of the vaccination drive. Perhaps, we can take it at a later date.”

Dubai residents, whose children are studying overseas and are here for the Christmas vacation, are also keen on getting the new jab for their offsprings before they return to their universities abroad.

Leeza George, a Dubai resident, said “I want my 18-year-old to get the Pfizer-Biotech vaccine before he returns to the United Kingdom (UK), as the situation is bad there especially with the new strain of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19. I have heard this vaccine is effective even for the new strain. But if he is not eligible for now, and that’s what I understand, then he’ll have to return to the UK without receiving the jab. He may still get to take the jab, if the reopening of his varsity gets deferred because of a fresh outbreak of the new mutant Covid-19 variant.”

A Dubai Health Authority (DHA) official told Khaleej Times that any individual, who wishes to book an appointment for the free vaccination drive, must head to one of the four designated centres and provide them with the Medical Record Number (MRN).

Those who already have an MRN must furnish the officials with the same to book an appointment.

An individual, who doesn't have an MRN, must send an email to info@dha.gov.ae to book an appointment providing a photocopy of the Emirate ID, including both the front and back, and also mentioning h/her mobile number.

This is the second voluntary vaccine to be rolled out in the UAE after China’s Sinopharm started being administered in Abu Dhabi for free of cost from December 9.

According to the regulators in the UAE, Sinopharm vaccine is 86 per cent effective. While Pfizer-Biotech’s test results show its Covid-19 vaccine is 95 per cent effective. Both the vaccines need two doses that need to be administered 21 days apart and they don’t have any serious safety concerns.

Wam file photo
Wam file photo

More news from coronavirus