Dubai: Book COVID-19 vaccination appointment via WhatsApp

Selected private health sector facilities are offering customers a variety of options to book the vaccines

Image used for illustrative purpose.

Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Several private hospitals have joined the country’s vaccination drive and will now be offering two free-of-cost Covid-19 vaccines — Pfizer BioNTech and Sinopharm — to meet the increased demand for vaccines.

While the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has released a full list of all the clinics and hospitals where UAE residents can go get the jab, some hospitals are still awaiting clarity on the process and working on an implementation strategy.

Residents who wish to get the jab through the DHA are required to download the authority's app. However, selected private health sector facilities are offering customers a variety of options to book the vaccines.

Dr Santosh Kumar Sharma, medical director and consultant neurosurgeon, NMC Royal Hospital, DIP, Dubai said the hospital has multiple options available to book the jab.

Elaborating on the booking process, Dr Sharma said: “Anyone who requires the Covid vaccine can book an appointment — through WhatsApp, the toll-free number, or the hospital-specific call centre number. They can also approach the appointment desk in person to book the appointment."

Dr Sharma noted the appointment would be booked electronically and an SMS would be sent to the jab-seeker confirming the appointment date and time. He/she would need to present their Emirates ID in order to avail of the vaccine. "Once you arrive at the vaccine clinic, you will be registered to create an electronic medical record in the hospital,” he added.

Vaccine seekers will be offered a detailed explanation once at the hospital: from the name of the vaccine and schedule of the doses to facts about that particular vaccine. "They will then be asked to sign a consent form for the same," Dr Sharma said, adding that each authorised Covid-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help one understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine.

“The nurse will then proceed to check your vital signs — such as temperature, pulse and blood pressure. If your vitals are normal, a pre-Covid vaccine assessment — which includes your detailed medical history (such as medications, Covid illness, and allergies) — will be collected and entered into the HASANA system, which is the DHA’s integrated electronic public health system for disease surveillance and management," he continued.

"The nurse will then explain the vaccine procedure to the customer — name of the vaccine, which dose, route of administration, expected side effects. While taking the vaccine, you and your healthcare provider will both need to wear masks that cover your nose and mouth, and stay six feet away from others."

After getting the vaccine, Dr Sharma said the person will be monitored on site for at least 15 minutes, to check for possible allergic reactions. “The assessment before second dose vaccine is limited to vital signs and a brief history of the side effects experienced for the first dose of the vaccine, if any. Once you receive the two doses of the vaccine, you will be given a vaccination card and the updated details will appear on the Al Hosn app on your phone.”

The same process of booking the appointment and getting the jab is followed at most of the healthcare centres. A number of private hospitals confirmed that they have not yet opened walk-in facilities and that one would need to call up the centres to check for available appointments in order to get the vaccine.

A few centres of Prime Medical Group are also offering the Covid vaccine for which one needs to ring up the call centre to book an appointment.

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