Dubai: The Indian Consulate in Dubai has warned Indian expatriates against a WhatsApp message that says the mission is seeking applications from people who want to have their parents in UAE on visit visas vaccinated against COVID-19.
The mission’s advisory came after Gulf News contacted it to verify the message that had gone viral.
The message, which had a link to the consulate’s online helpline service attached to it, 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).”
A spokesperson of the consulate dismissed the message as a rumour and urged expatriates not to believe in such communication.
“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,” the official cautioned.
What residents with parents on a visit are saying
Dubai resident Rihanna. J said she got the message forwarded in a WhatsApp group. “I passed it on to my husband because we have been trying to get my father-in-law vaccinated. He had come over on a visit visa and we didn’t send him back because of the surge in COVID-19 cases back in India.”
However, she said her husband was sceptical about the message and said he would go ahead with his plan to sponsor a residence visa for his father to get him vaccinated.
Some other residents, whose elderly parents are in the UAE on visit visas, also said that they had been desperately waiting to get their parents vaccinated.
Roshni Roy, whose parents have been in Dubai on visit visas, said: “I have not been able to sponsor a residence visa for them [her parents] due to the salary requirement of Dh20,000. I am eagerly waiting for the authorities to open vaccination for elderly visit visa holders.”
Shajudheen Jabbar, whose father-in-law came over on a visit visa in February, said: “Unfortunately, he got COVID-19 soon after landing. Luckily, he didn’t have any complication and nobody else in the family got it. Now that it is more than three months, we are looking forward to getting him vaccinated.”