Thousands of people are being immunised daily at clinics across the country as authorities step up efforts to fight Covid-19.
Medics at the Seha Vaccination Centre at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal administer the Sinopharm vaccine to up to 3,000 people each day.
It is one of three of the Seha facilities dedicated to inoculations, alongside Al Ain Convention Centre and Dubai Parks and Resorts Field Hospital, each of which can immunise 3,000 people daily. Hospitals and health centres across the UAE offer the jab to individual patients, but block bookings should be handled by the dedicated vaccination hubs.
The centres in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi were set up in only four days.
Marwan Al Kaabi, acting group chief operations officer at Seha, said he was pleased, but not surprised, with the strong demand from the public for the vaccine, and vowed to increase capacity.
“We did expect this and we are thrilled to have this number. This is the ultimate goal and that’s why we try to increase capacity as per demand,” he said.
“It is expected and one of the good signs that the community is willing and wanting to take the vaccine.”
The health chief said Seha had sought to solve the issue of lengthy queues by offering companies the opportunity to book appointments so the mass vaccination of workforces can be carried out swiftly and efficiently.
“We created different tracks for companies with large employees because they were coming in large numbers and overwhelming the waiting areas,” he said.
Companies can now book directly by calling 800 50 and have separate appointment times to those walking in to be immunised.
“We also go to the site if there is a large number of employees. We noticed that big companies were very interested in getting the vaccine and did not want to hinder their access to the vaccine.”
He said appointments were given within 48 hours.
“We do ask companies not to walk in and to arrange for a visit and to come in time.”
Mohamed Hawas Al Sadid, chief executive of Ambulatory Healthcare Services, said a new centre recently opened in Musaffah and had the capacity to vaccinate 2,500 workers daily.
“Our goal is that by the first quarter of the years we would have vaccinated more than 50 per cent of the population,” he said.
“We are pleased and happy to see how committed the community is to the receiving the vaccine.”
The Sinopharm vaccine is administered in two doses, about 21 days apart.
The health authorities in the country aim to inoculate half the population by the end of March.
More than a million doses have been administered since the campaign began on December 13, four days after the UAE officially registered China’s Sinopharm vaccine for nationwide use.
The vaccine was found to have 79 per cent efficacy against coronavirus.
Residents immunised at the cruise terminal centre were keen to play their part in helping the country recover from the pandemic.
Jana Mustafa, 18, from Syria came with her entire family to be vaccinated at the centre.
“We want life to go back to normal and to start living a normal life,” she said.
“This vaccine is the only option for that.”
Muhammed Kunhi, 50, received the second dose of the vaccine along with his wife.
“I am doing this for my family, my community and myself,” the father of three from India said.
Novica Ristovly, 40, and his wife Suzana, 35, from Serbia, had no doubts about being immunised.
“This isn’t new technology. We did our investigations and found that the vaccine was similar to the ones offered by our institutions in Serbia and we believe in it,” the father of two said.
“I feel protected and that my kids are safer,” said his wife.
UAE nationals and residents wishing to receive the vaccine can visit the centres in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain every day of the week, from 8am to 8pm. The centre in Dubai is open daily from 8am to 4pm by walk-in, or by appointment through the Seha app.