Indian expatriates in the UAE have been warned against spreading unverified reports that applications would be opened for elderly persons on visit visas to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to a media report on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Gulf News, an official with the Indian Consulate in Dubai said: “We have no such information from local authorities here and currently, only UAE residents holding valid Emirates ID are eligible for vaccination. People should not believe in such information and avoid forwarding such stories to others."
Last week, a WhatsApp message was circling in the Indian diaspora which stated that elderly persons on visit visas would be inoculated against COVID-19 and that the Indian mission here was making necessary arrangements.
The WhatsApp forward, which had an attached link to the consulate’s online helpline service, read: “Ladies and gentlemen, this link is for the Consulate General of India Dubai. We spoke to them a couple of days ago about trying to arrange vaccine for our parents who are on visit visa. When we spoke to them they said if we have enough number of people requesting us, then we can approach the government for arranging vaccination for seniors who are here on visit visa. So please send your messages in … and type out the details and maybe our parents will have a shot or two!" (sic).
Indian Consulate officials said the vaccination drive in the UAE will first cater to the permanent citizens and that such rumours should not be spread, the newspaper reported. “Beware of rumours. Always check with a trusted source before forwarding a message," the consulate wrote on its Twitter handle.
The coronavirus has claimed 1,637 lives in the UAE, along with 548,681 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Indians are the largest expatriate group in the UAE based on nationality. Many of the Indians say their parents are with them in the Gulf nation on a visit visa.
They are worried to send their aged parents back to India which is struggling with a deadly wave of the coronavirus.