Private hospitals open bookings to vaccinate children aged 12 and above

Oman Wednesday 30/June/2021 21:33 PM
By: Times News Service
Private hospitals open bookings to vaccinate children aged 12 and above

Muscat: Children aged 12 and above will soon be able to get their COVID-19 jabs at private hospitals, after some began taking reservations for those who wish to get vaccinated.

Children who do go to private health centres to be vaccinated, however, need to be accompanied by a parent, in case they should suffer adverse side effects after being inoculated. “There are many ways for families to approach us, if they want to vaccinate their child,” said Dr A Basheer, a senior internist at Badr Al Sama’a Hospital. “They can approach any of the hospitals, ring up our call centres, and book through our website and social media channels.”

At present, there are no walk-in vaccination appointments available. Advance bookings are the primary method for parents to vaccinate their children. When parents book vaccination appointments for their children, they must provide the hospital a copy of their child’s resident card, as well as one of their own.

“As far as we are concerned, the child is still a minor, and therefore, an adult has to take the responsibility for their vaccine booking,” explained Basheer. “We need to know that the person booking the appointment is indeed their parent.”

“Children who do come for vaccination appointments must arrive with a parent,” he said. “If anything untoward happens after taking the vaccine, the parent needs to be informed immediately, and might need to give consent for any subsequent treatment we might need to take.”

Explaining why walk-in appointments for people are not currently available, Basheer explained this was a question of supply and demand, with the demand for vaccines far greater than the numbers of doses coming in.

As part of the efforts to vaccinate people in the country, while private companies have been ordering vaccines for their own employees, in coordination with the ministry of health, many have also begun booking doses for the families of those who work for them.

“We are still waiting for clarity regarding when we can start vaccinating children who book through us,” said Dr Rajeev Chathanath, an internal medicine specialist and head of NMC Hospital’s COVID-19 unit. “Currently, we are only vaccinating children who have been referred to us under the scheme for the dependents of employees in the private sector.

“It is important that we wait for further instructions before we can continue, because right now, for members of the public, we only receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, whereas it is the Pfizer one that has been recommended for children,” he further added.