UAE achieves 100% Covid vaccination: Meet the residents who got the jab first

Sinopharm was the first mass vaccine to be used in the country

File photo

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Thu 2 Jun 2022, 7:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Jun 2022, 10:17 PM

The UAE has completed vaccinating all target groups against Covid-19 following a countrywide campaign that aimed at providing the jab to all eligible residents.

Sinopharm was the first mass vaccine to be used in the country in December 2020. Residents who got their jabs then, said the procedure was simple, but it was time consuming due to the huge rush for vaccinations. However, for frontline workers, there was no delay in receiving the jab, some of them even got vaccinated before the mass drive began.

Dr Sudheer Salavudeen, specialist general and laparoscopic surgery, Aster Hospital in Qusais, was among the few who took the jab on November 2020, at the Ministry of Health and Prevention Center in Sharjah.


“It is a day of pride for the UAE to have achieved 100 per cent vaccination rate. We successfully battled the pandemic because we protected ourselves by getting vaccinated,” said Dr Salavuddeen.

It was a tense situation at the hospital at that time as many patients were suffering from severe Covid symptoms, he said. “It was one of the toughest times for us. People were scared. We were hearing negative news from all over the world. The death figures were rising and everywhere there was gloom,” said Dr Salavudeen.

There were many rumours doing rounds when the UAE initially announced the vaccination drive. “There was fake news being spread via social media telling people that the vaccines might be harmful,” he said.

Vaccine was the only hope

Dubai resident Abdul Rahman was also among the first to get the jab at the Ministry of Health and Prevention Center in Sharjah.

He said that taking the vaccine was only the hope for people at that time. “Around the world, people were dying, hospital were overflowing with patients,” said Abdul Rahman.

The myths surrounding the effects of the vaccine was busted after Rahman got jabbed. “I felt a mild pain in my left arm, which subsided soon. I did not experience fever or any other health issues,” he said.

Residents who volunteered for trial

Much before the country's immunisation drive began, a few residents had volunteered to get the jab. One among them was Mohammed Anees ur Rahman, a Bangladeshi expat and long-time UAE resident.

“People were very scared during the pandemic,” said Rahman, who received his vaccination during the trial stages in July 2020, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

Although Rahman had been told about the side effects during the trial stage, his family and relatives were against him volunteering for it. “Almost everyone opposed it, but I wanted to experience it first-hand and see how it would help me and only then could I convince everyone to get the jab,” he said.

The procedure to receive the vaccination was lengthy. “It took only a few minutes to get the jab, but I spent the whole day at the trials (completing other formalities),” said Rahman.

He was called for the second shot after 21 days. “I was kept under observation for the entire day. Doctors were in constant touch with me to learn about any side effects,” Rahman explained.

However, he tested positive for Covid a year after receiving both the doses, but it was not severe infection, said Anees. “All I can say is that I busted the myth that people had been creating about the vaccination,” he said.

Rahman then advised all his friends to volunteer for the trials. But none of them came forward except for one – Mohammed Shohag – who got his first jab in August 2020 at ADNEC.

“I was a bit scared in the beginning, but I had full faith that the vaccination would shield me against Covid,” explained Shohag.

Shohag was kept under observation for about 16 hours after undertaking all the required tests. “The doctors let me go once they realised that everything was fine with me,” he added.

He praised the doctors and the government for continuously monitoring his health after taking the vaccine. “The authorities were in touch with me daily in the beginning. After that it was reduced to weekly and then monthly,” said Shohag.

SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Thu 2 Jun 2022, 7:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Jun 2022, 10:17 PM

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