Abu Dhabi limits vaccines to elderly and disabled for next six weeks

UAE-wide decision means thousands will have their first dose delayed

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Vaccines will be limited to the elderly, disabled, and people with chronic illnesses in the next six weeks, Abu Dhabi health chiefs said on Sunday.

It followed a nationwide decision by the Ministry of Health, which said all vaccine centres were now dedicated "only to the elderly and people with chronic diseases, in the light of the spike in infections over the past weeks".

Abu Dhabi residents who have had their first vaccine dose will be able to take their second as scheduled.

But people who have not yet had their first dose are expected to wait until next month.

Walk-in services will end and younger people will be seen by appointment only.

Last week, Dubai also restricted the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Emiratis and over 60s.

But what does this mean for people who have already booked an appointment or do not fall within these categories? The National explains.

What just happened?

The ministry restricted vaccine centres from administering inoculations except for people within specific priority groups. In Abu Dhabi, this includes people aged 50 and above, Emiratis and anyone with a chronic illness or disability.

In Dubai, only people aged 60 and above, people with a chronic disease or disability, Emiratis and frontline workers can book appointments for their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Health authorities said eligible chronic illnesses include heart diseases, diabetes and respiratory diseases.

The restriction is in place for four to six weeks as part of efforts to vaccinate vulnerable groups, following a sharp rise in cases last month.

What if I have already had my first dose of the vaccine?

If you have already received your first dose of a vaccine, you should receive your second as scheduled. On receiving your first dose, you will have had a second booked within 28 days. This appointment will not be affected by the announcement.

What if I have my first dose booked over the next month?

If you have booked to receive your first dose over the next four to six weeks, and you are not part of one of the priority groups, it will be rescheduled. You will either receive a message from the medical centre you booked with or must call to move your appointment until a few weeks into March.

Which vaccines are available in the UAE?

Four vaccines are available in the UAE. The Sinopharm and Sputnik V drugs are available across the UAE, although the latter is only for emergency use.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are available in Dubai. Currently, specific priority groups are being vaccinated in Dubai, with plans for a wider programme later in the year.

All are free and administered on a voluntary basis.

How can I book a Covid-19 vaccine appointment?

If you fit into one of the priority groups outlined by the government, you can receive the vaccine at any Seha centre without an appointment in Abu Dhabi or any other emirate.

Currently new bookings for people who do not fit into a priority group and have not been vaccinated are suspended. Once they resume, this is how you can schedule an appointment: Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm vaccine: how to book a shot in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and UAE