Everything You Need to Know About Covid-19 Vaccine Updates

Read about the latest Covid-19 vaccine updates, including the possibility of mixing vaccines, temporary summer housing guidelines, and the Fall 2021 campus vaccination policy.

May 2, 2021

On April 21, the Abu Dhabi Department of Health announced the distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in line with the UAE’s national inoculation campaign. The Pfizer vaccination shots will be administered in two doses, 21 days apart, and must be booked via an appointment at designated vaccination centres. The vaccine is available free of charge to eligible citizens and residents of the UAE who are 16 years old and above and have not previously received a Covid-19 vaccine.
Having received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Cleveland Hospital, SJ Park, Class of 2024, explained the process of booking an appointment for the vaccine: “I got the vaccine on Sunday in the private hospital… I [had to make] a call to the [Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre]…. They asked me if I wanted a reservation for Cleveland and I told them to make a booking for the fastest one… I was required to share my medical history like if I took other vaccinations or if I have any allergies and shared private details like my Emirates ID, email address, and UAE phone number.”
Park shared that on the day of the vaccination, he was asked to sign a consent form and show his Emirates ID at the hospital’s reception. “Before taking the vaccine, the nurse took my blood pressure… [and after] I got the vaccine...I had to sit down for 15 minutes in case of a reaction. It was all relatively quick.”
For students who have received the Sinopharm vaccine and are looking to mix vaccines when they go back home in the summer, Dr. Ayaz Virji, Executive Director of the NYUAD Health Center, explained: “The UAE is not allowing [or recommending] mixing vaccines right now… but scientifically just giving you my own opinion on this… there should be no issue with mixing vaccines, as long as you keep a good interval between your initial vaccine.”
With the likelihood of needing to get a third vaccine dosage after 12 months of being fully vaccinated adding great possibility for annual vaccinations, Dr. Ayaz noted that although there may not be an adverse effect in mixing vaccines, it is not recommended at the moment as clinical trials are still ongoing.
“For the booster vaccine, I do not recommend taking a different vaccine, so close to one another just because we don't have any data to tell you what happens.” Virji emphasized that the Sinopharm vaccine has the best safety profile of all the vaccines.
According to Saif Al Dhaheri, a spokesman for the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, the Emirates is considering placing restrictions on the movement of people who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 by limiting their entrance to certain places and their access to services in order to safeguard the “health and safety of everyone.”
Echoing NYU New York’s decision, NYUAD announced in an April 29 Return to Campus memo that all students will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the Fall semester to “enable our community to return to in-person operations.” The memo explained that such measures will be carried out by asking undergraduate students to upload their vaccination records to the Student Health Center portal for nurses to review and approve results.
Fourth Sinopharm Mass Vaccination Drive
The April 29 RTC Memo reminded the NYUAD community of the fourth vaccination drive on campus to administer the second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine to all community members. The vaccination drive was scheduled to fall between 21 to 28 days from when community members received their first dose on campus and will run from May 1-3 from 9 a.m to 5 p.m each day. It will follow the same guidelines as the previous drive, by requiring community members to book a time slot in order to manage density, to remain compliant with public health and social distancing protocol and to provide their Emirates ID as well as brief medical history. Prior registration through this [link] ( is necessary.
Temporary Housing in the Summer Term
Aigerim Zhusubalieva, Class of 2024, explained her urgency to get vaccinated before she leaves in the summer due to the worsened Covid-19 conditions and limited access to vaccines in her home country.
“The first wave was the worst one for us [in Kyrgyzstan] but right now the numbers are slowly going up, there is a slow third wave and Sinopharm back home is only available to healthcare workers and so the general population is unable to get the vaccine right now... this is why I’m trying to get vaccinated here while I can.” she shared.
Acknowledging the unequal structure of opportunities for students to participate in vaccine distributions in their home country, NYUAD has amended their housing policies for those students who are able to receive their first vaccination dose by May 10 and are unable to receive their second dosage at home to be granted temporary housing until they receive the second dose by June 10. They must request housing by 5 p.m GST on May 10 using this authorization form .
Vaccinations in Fall semester 2021
Members from the incoming freshmen class may need to quarantine and get vaccinated in the UAE depending on the availability of vaccines in their home countries.
“Our highest priority is to build on our community’s remarkable efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and expand the on-campus experience for our students and community,” the memo stated.
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