Saturday, January 2, 2021

GETTING THE COVID19 VACCINE IN SAUDI ARABIA

This morning I received the first of two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.  This post is to relay my experiences about getting the vaccine in Jeddah.

From the time I registered thru the online app for my free vaccine (at http://onelink.to/yjc3nj), it took about 10 days before I received a text message from "Sehhaty."  I was then able to go to the app to schedule my appointment.  I immediately received a text message confirming my appointments, for both the first dose and the 2nd dose scheduled for 3 weeks later.  Included in the text message is a Google Maps link with the location.  The location is the South Terminal at the Jeddah airport which is no longer being used for flights since the new terminal opened about two years ago.  

You cannot just show up there without an appointment!  We arrived about 10 minutes before my appointment time at 8:30 am, however there were still many vehicles in line for appointments at 8 am, so we were asked to circle around the loop and return, which we did.  The MOH (Ministry of Health) signage was excellent and easy to understand.  Plenty of staff was on hand to assist people.  I was actually quite impressed with how organized and well run the operation is.  

Helpful staff were placed all along the way, guiding us and answering questions.  Be sure to have your ID and the confirmation text showing your appointment handy.  Also, don't forget your face mask!  They are mandatory.    

Once inside the terminal, more staff directed us. We were quickly registered and given a number indicating what section we should proceed to.  The waiting areas were clearly marked, and there were large video screens in each section showing the numbers that were being served.    


After only a few minutes, we were guided into another adjacent waiting area, directly outside the cubicles where the shots were administered.  I was almost immediately shown to a cubicle.  Soon a young nurse came in. She asked me a few health related questions and had me sign a form.  She also explained possible reactions to the vaccine and what I might expect as perfectly normal, such as soreness or a little swelling.  By the way, the vaccine I received is from Pfizer out of Germany.

Since I am right handed, I decided to get the vaccine in my left arm.  The shot itself did not hurt at all.  I had worn a loose sleeved abaya and a sleeveless dress underneath so it was easy to just roll up the sleeve and not have to remove any clothing.  

The nurse told me that they were expecting about 5000 people today (a Saturday) coming in for the vaccine.  Normally during the week, she said they were serving an average of about 2000-3000 people per day. 


We were then directed to another waiting area.  After the vaccine is administered, we were required to wait for 15 minutes before we could leave, just to make sure that there were no immediate adverse reactions.  Complimentary water was also provided.  

We were finished and on our way home by 9:07 am.  All in all, it was a very good experience. The staff were all extremely professional, helpful, and knowledgeable. The operation is well marked, well run, and efficient.  Kudos to the Ministry of Health - a job well done! 


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