Follow the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic here
UAE authorities have urged the public to book a Covid-19 booster shot after they have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
“Boosters are needed. It is given after the two main doses to activate the body’s immunity," Dr Farida Al Hosani, the health spokeswoman for the federal government, said last month, adding that all eligible people should take a third shot to boost protection.
But when are you eligible? And how can you book?
The National explains.
When am I eligible to take a booster shot?
Dubai residents are eligible to take a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech three months after their last Sinopharm dose.
But according to the Dubai Health Authority, for now, only certain groups are eligible: UAE citizens from all emirates, domestic helpers working for UAE citizen in all emirates and residents aged 50 and over.
In Abu Dhabi, residents must wait six months after their last Sinopharm dose. They can choose between Pfizer-BioNTech or Sinopharm. Authorities have advised residents to take one Pfizer shot only as a booster. But in some cases they have been able to obtain two doses after receiving a doctor's consent.
People working in the healthcare sector in Abu Dhabi can receive the booster shot three months after their second Sinopharm dose.
Do you need a doctor’s signature to receive Pfizer after being vaccinated with Sinopharm?
In Dubai, people do not require a doctor's approval.
In Abu Dhabi, it is not necessary if it has been longer than six months after their last Sinopharm vaccine, according to the Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre, which books appointments for Pfizer vaccinations at centres operated by Mubadala Health.
How can you book?
By calling Seha's customer service centre on 80050 or through the Seha app.
Appointments are being offered at various Seha locations, including: Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal; Abu Dhabi City; Al Ain Convention Centre; Al Ain City; Dubai Parks and Resorts; and Madinat Zayed Wedding Hall, Al Dhafra.
In Abu Dhabi, Mubadala Health-owned centres are also offering appointments for Pfizer vaccinations to people who have previously taken Sinopharm. Locations include Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Healthpoint. Appointments can be booked by calling 800 4959.
In Dubai, there are various ways to book, including through the DHA’s app or through its WhatsApp account.
To use WhatsApp, save 800 342 to your phone's contacts and send a message on the app to the number saying “Hi”. You can then select your preferred language and option three to book a vaccination.
You will be asked to accept a disclaimer, before linking your medical record number, or MRN, to your WhatsApp account. The system will ask you for a verification code that will be sent to your phone. Reply “mrnlinked” once done.
You will then be asked to confirm the MRN or add another. After that, you will be asked to select your nearest vaccination centre that offers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Users then submit their MRN, confirm the vaccination centre and choose their preferred date and time.
It is also possible to drop in to some centres in Dubai, including Al Barsha Hall and One Central.