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As the UAE’s COVID-19 cases plummet, vaccination centers fall silent

Published: Updated:

Once a bustling clinic full of patients waiting to receive their COVID-19 jab, a vaccination center in the heart of Dubai now lies quiet.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccination clinic at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery, run by healthcare provider VPS, was administering jabs to more than 650 patients during a typical day.

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Now that figure has fallen by about 90 percent, Saed al-Salaymeh, the hospital’s director of nursing, told Al Arabiya English during a tour of the clinic.

“If we are looking back to January at the time the UAE started its vaccination drive, within one month, the number of people in Dubai who had received one dose was around four million. We were reaching a huge number of people coming in every day.”

The hospital also outsourced nursing staff to dedicated vaccination clinics to limit the number of people entering hospital centers for vaccines.

It was, he said, a very busy time.

“We had to recruit more team members,” he said, saying more than eight members of staff were on at any one time purely to administer vaccines.

“Now we gradually have decreased that number because the flow of the patients decreased with the increased numbers of people who have been vaccinated.”

“Before we used to have waiting areas and we had a lot of people waiting, now we don’t have a rush time.”

The reduced number of people getting vaccinated at the clinic is echoed across VPS’s chain of clinics across the United Arab Emirates, he said.

The vaccination clinic at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery now only sees about 60 patients a day for a vaccine shot, the majority of which receive a booster dose – not their first or second jab.

“I get a list every day breaking down how many are getting their first dose, how many people are getting their second dose, who many are getting their booster dose,” said al-Salaymeh.

A patient booking to get their first dose is now “very rare.”

The quietness of the clinic is symbolic of the UAE’s successful vaccination drive – one that has seen 99.86 percent of the population receive one dose of a COVID-19, and 90.07 percent who have been fully inoculated, according to the latest figures by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA).

The UAE’s vaccination drive has been welcomed by nurse Inigio Shalini Lourdusamy.

She recalled her shifts as a frontline worker during the start of the UAE’s vaccination drive, saying:

“Before it was so busy, we had no time to eat. Now it is totally changed.”

“Since last month we would only see between 70 to 80 people a day. It is reducing all the time. Today we are expecting 30 people. So many have received their vaccine already that is why.”

Patient Sunil Thilakasiri was among those getting a vaccine at the clinic.

Receiving his second shot of the Pfizer vaccine, the Indian national told Al Arabiya English: “The whole process has been very easy. I received no side effects after my first dose.”

Another patient, Saeed al-Khoori, was also receiving his second shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

“The whole thing was very simple from start to finish,” he said. “As soon as I got my first dose, I received a reminder to book my second.”

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He said he was not surprised the clinic was so quiet.

“So many people have been vaccinated now thanks to the UAE.”

Read more:

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