Coronavirus Vaccine in the UAE: Benefits, Side-Effects & Latest Updates

/ Covid-19

The coronavirus originated in early November 2019 in China and within months, spread across the world. The worrisome impact it had left the entire population yearning for a cure, and after a year, multiple companies have come out with the vaccine, with a different percentage of effectiveness. Whilst many are still in the run to create their version, Moderna (94% effective), BioNTech Pfizer (95% effective), Univ. of Oxford (Testing halted), Sinopharm Beijing Institute (86% effective), and Gamaleya Research Institute (91% effective) have had the coronavirus vaccines authorized. It should be noted, however, that the highest effectiveness of a vaccine does not make it the best, because other things such as trial results, side-effects, and price come into account.

The UAE has approved both the Pfizer and the Beijing vaccine, and 8% of its population has already been vaccinated free of charge. According to the Mint epaper, the UAE aims to vaccinate half of the residents in the first quarter.

How does the Covid vaccine work?

In layman language, the mRNA vaccine contains content from the virus itself, a particular protein and when taken, our cells destroy it. This harmless protein then when enters in the form of the virus, our body already knows what to do. Quite similar to the mRNA vaccine, but different in the sense that it contains only the protein unique to the virus and not the entire germ, protein subunit viruses help the body recognize the protein and when or if infected, prepares the body to fight it off. The third type of the virus, which is the vector virus, contains a very weak version of the virus itself, which when given to the person, does not prove to be harmful. The body gets familiar with fighting it off, so if the virus is contracted, the body already has instructions on what to do.

Do I only require one shot of the virus?

For now, two shots are required for the vaccine to be most effective. The second shot is to be given a few weeks later than the first shot.

Can my children get vaccinated?

In the UAE, you have to be at least 18 years of age to get the shots. If your children are younger, they’ll have to wait till the vaccine is offered to the younger bracket.

Is the vaccine free for everyone?

Yes, Dubai is offering free Pfizer vaccination in the following locations:

Zabeel, Al Mizhar, Nadd Al Hamar, Al Barsha, Uptown Mirdif, Al Ittihad, Hor Al Anz, Al Qusais, and Hatta Hospital.

You can get the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in Abu Dhabi in the following locations:

Al Bahia Healthcare Centre, Baniyas Healthcare Centre, Al Bateen Healthcare Centre, Al Falah Healthcare Centre, Madinat Khalifa Healthcare Centre, Al Khatim Healthcare Centre, Madinat Mohammad Bin Zayed Healthcare City, Al Maqtaa Healthcare Centre, Al Mushrif Children’s Specialty Centre, Al Samha Healthcare Centre, Al Zafaranah Diagnostic and Screening Centre, Disease Prevention and Screening Centres, Musaffah, Seha COVID-19 Vaccination Centre, Mina, Al Mafraq Field Hospital, Burjeel Hospital, Burjeel Medical Centre, Shamkha, Burjeel Medical Centre, Shahama, Burjeel Medical Centre, Al Zeina, Burjeel Medical Centre, Yas Mall, Burjeel MHPC Marina Medical, Burjeel Day Surgery Centre, Medeor 24x7 Hospital, LLH Hospital, Lifecare Hospital, Musaffah, LLH Hospital, Musaffah, Lifecare Hospital, Baniyas Burjeel Medical City, NMC Royal Hospital, Khalifa City and Bareen International Hospital.

Can I get the vaccine if I am pregnant?

You cannot get vaccinated if you’re pregnant or nursing.

I have heard that some people got Covid even after getting the vaccine?

The vaccine needs time to work. Once in the body, it takes the body several weeks to produce “T-lymphocytes” and “B-lymphocytes” that fight off the virus. If the individual gets impacted during or before that time, then the body will not be ready to fight off the virus. After getting vaccinated, make sure to still follow the SOPs, maintain social distancing, and go out if absolutely necessary. Once the vaccine works, you will not get the virus.

Covid-19 vaccine illustration
A metaphorical representation of how the vaccine protects you!

A friend got a fever after being vaccinated?

Fever is a common symptom and it will go away on its own, without worsening. It is a sign that the body is building immunity.

What documents do I need to get vaccinated?

You just need your Emirates ID. No other documents are needed. You do not need to make an appointment prior to getting vaccinated either.

What should I expect when getting vaccinated?

Once you reach the vaccination center, expect to be handed a virtual or real sheet with the particular vaccine’s facts and benefits. You will be monitored on-site once you receive the vaccine in case you have an allergic reaction which is rare.

What do I do if I have side-effects from the first shot?

Contact your doctor to rule out the possibility of the side-effects being severe. It is most likely that you will be advised to get the second shot. Remember, even after the second shot, it’ll take up to a week or two for the vaccine to work.

What are the benefits of getting the vaccine?

The authorized vaccines are safe for consumption and have been tested rigorously. The vaccine will perform its job of preventing you from contracting the virus which can prove to be fatal for you and your family. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, getting the vaccine will also prevent you from getting seriously ill, even if you do not get the coronavirus. Even if you have a strong immune system, you may get the virus and fight it if you don’t get the vaccine but this can have a life-threatening impact on your friends and family. You can pass the disease on to them, which can result in permanent complications or even death. Wearing masks and social distancing cannot alone help control the pandemic. Getting vaccinated is vital.

Can I stop wearing a mask after I get vaccinated?

First, it’ll take several weeks for the vaccine to work, so you’ll have to wear your mask and abide by other SOPs. But even after, it is not suggested to remove masks just yet. The virus is mutating and we do not know what will happen in the future. Better safe, than sorry! And yes, we are all hoping for a mask-free time soon!

Which people cannot get the vaccine in the UAE?

·         Senior citizens over 60 years

·         Pregnant and nursing women

·         People of determination

·         People with chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney diseases, etc.

·         Children below 18 years

·         People with an immunodeficiency disease

The bottom line is that we’re off to get the vaccine, and you should too. Millions of people are wanting to get it, but only a few countries have gotten it, from which some are providing it for free, and the UAE is, fortunately, one of them.

Coronavirus Vaccine in the UAE: Benefits, Side-Effects & Latest Updates
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