A Sikh temple in Dubai was inundated with requests from the public to take part in a three-day vaccination drive against Covid-19.
Guru Nanak Darbar in Jebel Ali hosted an event to inoculate 4,500 adults of all nationalities and religions between Saturday and Monday.
Surender Singh Kandhari, the temple’s chairman, said all available spots for the Sinopharm shot were taken within hours of posting about it on social media on Thursday.
The temple will now seek permission to host a second three-day event from Tamouh Health Care, one of the government’s approved vaccine partners, to accommodate everyone who applied to join.
In total, 35 nationalities will be vaccinated as part of the drive, said Mr Kandhari.
“We kept it open to anyone, any age and any nationality. We are all one. We are all human beings. We have to respect each other and humanity,” he added.
“We announced it on Thursday morning and by Thursday evening, we already had 6,000 people applying to get the vaccine registration done.
“It’s not available everywhere and people are having great difficulty, so they are very blessed to come to the temple and get a vaccine done.”
Everyone who is vaccinated as part of the event will return in 31 days to receive their second dose, he added.
Three vaccines are now authorised for widespread use in Dubai – the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the US-German Pfizer-BioNTech jab and China’s Sinopharm shot.
Dubai’s health authority has scaled back the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech shots because of local and global shortages, while Emiratis and over-60s are being prioritised for the Sinopharm shot.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is currently only available to Emiratis and over-60s, frontline workers and people with disabilities.
The UAE has one of the highest vaccination rates.
On Friday, it was announced the country had administered 4 million doses of Covid-19 after a further 158,786 vaccines were given to the public over the past 24 hours. That equates to 40.53 doses per 100 people.