Dubai residents and doctors spoke of their relief after getting the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday.
Carolyn Belsey Morton and her husband Graham, both 74, were inoculated on Wednesday evening in the Uptown Mirdif Medical Fitness Centre.
The couple said it was “the best Christmas present they could have hoped for”.
“I can’t begin to tell you what a relief it was to finally get the vaccine,” said Ms Morton, an Englishwoman who runs a music shop in Dubai.
“We are both quite healthy but we are also at an age at which we are more vulnerable than others.
“I still can’t believe we were able to get the vaccine. We weren’t expecting it to become available until next year at the earliest.”
Ms Morton and her husband signed a consent form before vaccination and they felt no side effects.
“It was just like every other injection I have ever had,” she said.
“I felt a little prick. I had no qualms at all.
“I can’t praise the staff at the clinic highly enough. They were so helpful.”
Dr Nikita Malhotra and her husband Dr Sandeep Malhotra said they felt safer after getting their first doses of the vaccine.
Dr Nikita, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Medcare Hospital in Al Safa, said she was excited to be the first doctor at her hospital to get the vaccine on Wednesday.
“I feel comforted and secure because I am an ENT surgeon and am constantly seeing patients with upper respiratory infections," she said.
"Taking the first shot of the vaccine made me feel protected.
"I have had patients coming in to see me with fever, cough and flu symptoms, and many turned out to be Covid-19 positive.
“I took all the precautions but at the back of my mind thought about when the vaccine would be available."
Both couples will need to take the second dose of the vaccine after three weeks.
Dr Nikita said she felt no side effects other than a bit of soreness where she had the injection.
She encouraged residents who were eligible to take the vaccine and help control the spread of the virus.
"Dubai has handled this very well and has prioritised people who are most at risk," she said.
"By this, they are curtailing the spread of the virus and this is the perfect formula."
Dr Nikita said she booked the appointment through the DHA Hotline number and got a text message explaining the process.
She carried her Emirates ID to the centre and told the doctors her medical history.
The registration took a few minutes and she had to fill out a questionnaire to specify any allergies to food or medicines.
The vaccinated individual is monitored for 20 minutes after having the injection.
Dr Sandeep, a paediatric dentist at JTS Medical Centre, received the first dose at Zabeel Primary Health Care Centre on Thursday.
"The whole world has been waiting for this vaccine," he said.
Dr Sandeep said he was sceptical and careful when taking on cases during the pandemic, because dentists and nurses are at risk of catching the virus during procedures.
"Now, because of the vaccine, I feel much more comfortable," Dr Sandeep said.
"I would encourage others to take the vaccine. This is the only way we can control the virus."