Muscat: A huge number of people in Oman turned up at the newly-opened vaccination site at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC), as the country’s efforts to immunise people against the virus continues to gain momentum. As part of efforts to vaccinate more people against the virus, starting Sunday, June 20, people over the age of 45 were also included in the country’s target vaccination groups.
“People aged 45 and above can get vaccinated at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, provided they have booked their vaccination appointments prior to their arrival,” said Dr Zainab bint Abdul Razzaq Al Balushi, a public health specialist at the Ministry of Health. “We have had a large turnout of people from these target groups, since Sunday morning.”
“This reflects great awareness among society, about the importance of taking the COVID-19 vaccine,” she told the Oman News Agency. “There are 60 rooms assigned at the OCEC for people to get vaccinated, split into two areas for men and women so that vaccines can be properly distributed to people in a safe and orderly manner. To avoid excessive crowds at vaccination centres, the Ministry of Health has made it necessary for those who wish to get vaccinated to book their appointments in advance.”
Bookings can be made through the website, www.covid19.moh.gov.om, or from the Tarassud Plus COVID-19 surveillance app. Upon entering the portal, applicants will be asked to provide their mobile phone numbers, to which an OTP will be sent. Entering this OTP will take them to a registration page, where they need to provide their ID card number and provide consent to taking the vaccine.
To minimise the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health has targeted vaccinating all those above the age of 12, which is equal to 70 per cent of the population. This will be done in stages, in accordance with the vaccination strategy developed, and assuming vaccine supplies are procured in a timely manner.
People who need to get vaccinated can go to the OCEC between 8 am and 6 pm on weekdays, and from 9 am to 4 pm on weekends. The Sahel Health Centre in Quriyat also operates between 8 am and 2 pm on weekdays.
“Everyone who has self-registered and got an appointment after 5 pm can come to the vaccination centres during the above-mentioned working hours,” said the Ministry of Health in a statement, adding that although it is recommended people take the COVID-19 vaccine, it is not compulsory for anyone.
“There is no legal path to make the vaccine compulsory, and people who do take it are doing so because of their conviction, and the motivation of others in the community, who know the importance of taking the vaccine,” added the ministry. “This is supported by awareness and the realisation that we all have a responsibility towards national duty.”
Currently, vaccination registration at the OCEC and Sahel Health Centre is only open to Omanis. Expatriates need to contact private health establishments.
Furthermore, Omanis who have received the first jabs of their COVID-19 vaccine while overseas can get their second shot back home, provided they have been injected with a vaccine approved by health authorities in Oman.