A fake WhatsApp message that spread quickly in the UAE says: "At a government facility in Ras Al Khaimah, the Covid vaccine is given to visit visa holders as well. Just carry your passport and visa paper ... No pre-registration needed."
The message contains the website address of the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, which gives it some credibility, perhaps. But it is fake, as Dubai visitors Manmohan Singh and his wife Satinder Kaur discovered on Wednesday.
The couple, over the age of 70, suffers from chronic illnesses and is residing in Dubai on a visit visa.
Upon receiving the viral WhatsApp message, the elderly couple made an hour-long drive to Ras Al Khaimah Healthcare Center from Dubai.
After arriving at the place, a security guard stopped the couple, and his first question was: "Are you on a visitor visa? We do not give any Covid vaccines to visit visa holders. A fake WhatsApp message. Many people were coming to the center."
Mohap also clearly indicates that the vaccine is currently open to both UAE nationals and resident expatriates.
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Manmohan Singh and his wife arrived in Dubai on a three-month visit visa in January and were due to return to Delhi in April. But given the situation in India, they decided to extend their stay here for another three months.
If the government permits, we may take another three-month extension. It feels much safer here. The only problem is vaccination. Despite spending six months here, we were unable to get vaccinated. Because my wife and I suffer from common diseases, we are vulnerable to infection and we want to be vaccinated, so we made this trip to Ras Al Khaimah. "
"Most of our friends here have residency visas and they've all been vaccinated," Satinder said.
He expressed his hope that the UAE government would soon open vaccination for holders of visitor visas.