The first recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine in Abu Dhabi have expressed relief and joy after the UAE authorized the vaccine for use last week, in a landmark moment for the Emirates.
Many are optimistic that as the vaccine rollout continues, life we resume to look more like life as we knew it pre-2020.
Bennet Clarence Julian was one of the first to receive a vaccine from VPS Healthcare’s Lifeline Hospital in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The 60-year-old from India works as administrator at the Abu Dhabi Indian School.
“I come into contact with a lot of people every day, from maintenance teams, to facilities management and other contractors. I interact with a lot of people and wanted to feel safe,” he told Al Arabiya English.
“I felt it was very important to get vaccinated.”
The Indian expatriate said his brother-in-law, a doctor also living and working in the UAE, had also been one of the first to receive the vaccine as a frontline worker.
“He told me it was very safe and it was good to get a vaccine,” Julian said. “I made an appointment, then got my blood pressure, my [blood] sugar levels and my temperature checked.
After being monitored for 20 minutes, Julian was released from the clinic.
“I feel very happy to have had it done,” he said.
Krishnakumar VP, an Indian expatriate from Kerala, also received a vaccine via VPS Healthcare, one of the biggest healthcare providers in the UAE, which announced on Saturday it will give 5,000 residents and nationals the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine every day across the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi for free.
The 55-year-old expatriate, an engineer who also works in the social field, said he felt “very, very happy and comfortable” after taking the vaccine.
“The doctor administered a shot to me, my wife and my 19-year-old son on Saturday,” he said. “I felt no problem afterward."
Normal life for UAE residents was disrupted in March when coronavirus made its first appearance. Now, a vaccine is a sign of hope for many that remaining restriction may be lifted in the near future, giving a semblance of normal life returning in the emirates.
“Hopefully we will now regain normal life and experience no more restrictions now once the vaccine operation gets into full swing. We will soon be free to move around again.”
The UAE last week approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s state-owned Sinopharm, after regulators said it showed 86 percent efficacy in trials.
“We should be very grateful for the rulers of this country. They have done so much and spent a lot of money to complete these vaccination trial – for everyone, not just citizens if the country, but to all, regardless of national status,” he said.
Just days after the vaccine was given approval, VPS Healthcare announced it is facilitating a mass vaccination drive throughout its 18 facilities in Abu Dhabi, Musafah, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra.
VPS has set up a helpline number (8005546) to book an appointment for vaccination which was activated this weekend. People can also book theirappointment through WhatsApp at 0565380055, and through the website www.covidvaccineuae.com.
Across the emirates, residents and citizens can get vaccinated at these clinics:
Dubai Parks and Resorts field hospital near Jebel Ali
Wasit Medical Center in Sharjah
Al Humaidiya Center in Ajman
Umm Al Quwain:
Al Bait Metwahid center in Umm Al Quwain
Murashied Medical Center in Fujairah
In Abu Dhabi, at hospitals run by VPS Healthcare
SEHA’s Al Zafarana Center for Diagnosis and Comprehensive Examination
Al Bateen Health Center
Al Maqtaa Health Center
Mohamed bin Zayed City Health Center
Baniyas Health Center
Khalifa City Health Center
Al Falah Health Center
Al Bahia Health Center
Oud Al Tawbah Center for Diagnosis and Comprehensive Examination
Hili Health Center
Al Yahar Health Center
Al Muwaiji Health Center
Mezyad Health Center
Neama Health Center
Al Quoa Health Center
Al Hayer Health Center
Sweihan Health Center
Al Dhafra Clinic in Madinat Zayed
Madinat Zayed Hospital
Al Mirfa Hospital
Al Sila Hospital
Individuals can also be vaccinated at neighborhood councils or majlis listed below from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
Al Bateen Council
Falaj Hazaa Council (Al Ain)
Zayed City Council (Al Dhafra)