Dubai parents rush to get their children Pfizer Covid vaccine before mid-term break

Parents can book appointments for children aged 5 and above on the Dubai Health Authority app

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Parents in Dubai rushed to get their children vaccinated against Covid-19 within hours of an announcement that those aged 5 and above were eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Families said Dubai Health Authority's announcement was timely, as most international schools in the emirate will close on February 11 for the mid-term break and many pupils will travel to home countries and other destinations.

A separate wing for children at Oud Metha vaccination centre is decorated with balloons and cartoon cut-out figures.

Parents said the experience was smooth on the first day, with vaccinations administered within 15 minutes of arrival at the centre.

Some brought their children straight from school to beat the rush that is expected in the coming days.

Len Apie, from the Philippines, brought her children Lewis, 9, and Clark, 6, to be inoculated.

“Today is the first day that they are offering vaccines to such young children and we just rushed. It's a milder dose than the ones we got so I'm very comfortable. It'll be safe to travel now,” Ms Apie said.

Vinita Bhatia, from India, was checking how busy the centre was before bringing in her son, Harshad, 10.

“I've been thinking of getting him vaccinated for some time now. It'll just be safe if we decide to travel,” she said.

Deepika Rastogi, 44, who is from India and lives in The Meadows community in Dubai, has already booked her daughter, Sasha, 9, to receive the vaccine.

“I'm so glad she can now get the Pfizer shot. We came back from India recently and thank God it was uneventful,” she said.

“We will be going back home again during the mid-term break and this time she'll be vaccinated.

“I will have so much peace of mind considering how common the new variant is and numbers in India are really high.”

What to expect at the centre?

The centre was not crowded on the first day when The National visited. There are many registration and vaccination rooms.

At the registration desk, you will be asked for your and your child's Emirates ID and passport number.

After vaccination, instead of going to the observation room, children can go to a face painting area where they can spend some time.

Deepika Rastogi, a Dubai resident, has booked her daughter, Sasha, 9, to receive the first shot of the Pfizer vaccine. Photo: Deepika Rastogi

Parents can book appointments on the Dubai Health Authority app.

Until now, the Pfizer vaccine was only available to children aged 12 and above. However, the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for children between 3 and 17 has been available since August 2021.

The emirate has provided the Pfizer vaccine to the public since December 2020. It was made available to children aged 12 to 15 across the UAE in May last year.

“The current Covid-19 vaccination is available for citizens and Dubai residents who have a valid Dubai residence visa and are 5 years and above,” read a message on the booking section on the DHA app.

The risk of severe infection with Sars-CoV-2 is lower among children aged 5 to 11, compared to adults, but numbers of new cases and admissions to hospital continue to rise within this age group.

The DHA said admissions to hospitals in children were increasing owing to the Omicron variant.

Children in Ajman receive the Sinopharm vaccine - in pictures

Updated: February 02, 2022, 8:21 AM