Updated on 05-Mar-2021
Jan 15th, 2021:
COVID-19 vaccines in the UAE: All your doubts and questions answered
Should I take the COVID vaccine?
Yes. A vaccine is the only way to arrest the spread of coronavirus.
What are the vaccines in the UAE?
Sinopharm from China and Pfizer-BioNTech from the United States.
Which vaccine is administered in Abu Dhabi’s Seha facilities?
Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) facilities deliver Sinopharm, which is an inactivated vaccine. The vaccine was registered in the UAE on December 9, 2020, following Phase III clinical trials in Abu Dhabi.
How effective is the Sinopharm vaccine?
The UAE trials of the Sinopharm vaccine showed an 86% efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, according to the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company.
What is the vaccine given by Dubai Healthcare Authority?
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
How effective is the Pfizer vaccine?
At least two preliminary data analyses in Phase-III trials showed the Pfizer vaccine is more than 90% effective and is safe.
Who should get vaccinated?
The vaccine is recommended for most people aged 18 years and above.
Who should not have the vaccine?
Children below 18 years should not be given the vaccine, since there’s not enough data on the vaccine’s effect on them.
Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers will not be given the vaccine. So also for women who plan to get pregnant within the next three months, according to the Dubai Health Authority.
Will the vaccine protect older people?
It will. The efficacy in people over 65 was found to be 94 per cent. The Pfizer trials included participants aged up to 85. The vaccine hasn’t been tested in people over 85.
Why is the vaccine not given to children?
Because it is not known whether the vaccine will protect children. The Pfizer trials included only people aged 18 or older. In September, children aged under 16 were included. A new trial on children as young as 12 has now been launched.
What is the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccine is free in the UAE.
Is vaccination compulsory in the UAE?
COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary for residents and citizens.
How do I get the vaccine?
In Abu Dhabi, no appointment is required. People can go directly to the designated facilities during working hours (8am to 8pm) to register and get the vaccine immediately. Don’t forget to take your Emirates ID.
In Dubai, people have to register through the DHA app or call 800 342.
Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine in Abu Dhabi?
Seha is administering COVID-19 vaccines at numerous locations. These include three large vaccination centres.
- Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal
- Al Ain Convention Centre
- Dubai Parks and Resorts Field Hospital
How do I book a vaccine appointment in Abu Dhabi?
You can call Seha toll-free number or 80050 or visit www.seha.ae to schedule an appointment.
■ Women will also be required to do a pregnancy test.
■ You will undergo an assessment to confirm eligibility and sign a consent form.
■ You will be given the first dose.
■ You will need to wait at the vaccination centre for 15 minutes to conduct a post-vaccination evaluation.
■ After you are cleared, you will receive the second dose appointment, which will be three to four weeks after the first dose.
Where do I get a COVID-19 vaccine in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah?
You can get vaccinated for free at these locations in Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain
Do I qualify in the first phase of vaccinations?
In Dubai, the Pfizer vaccine is rolled out for high-risk individuals and frontline workers. They include the following:
- Senior citizens and residents over 60 years
- People with chronic diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, liver and kidney diseases, hypertension, obesity and people with a BMI of 35 or more.
- Frontliners in the public and private sector
- People of determination
- Employees in sensitive and vital positions
I have had COVID-19. Can I take the vaccine?
Yes. But the person should take the vaccination only after three months from the date of coronavirus infection. The chances of reinfection are very low in the first three months since the body will have antibodies that fought the virus during the infection.
Is it safe to take the COVID-19 vaccine, if I am vaccinated for flu?
Yes. But the COVID-19 vaccination should be taken only after four weeks after the flu vaccine.
Can I take two different types of COVID-19 vaccines?
No. It is not safe to take two different types of COVID-19 vaccination.
Covid-19 virus can easily be detected even in asymptomatic patients using the latest testing technique developed in the UAE.
The new three-step cost-effective testing approach will improve testing accuracy significantly, according to researchers at New York University – Abu Dhabi's (NYUAD) Biology Programme and Centre for Genomics and Systems Biology (CGSB). The testing is more accurate than the widely used Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing method, added the scientists.
They demonstrated reliable ultra-sensitive and quantitative detection of low Covid-19 viral loads (less than one copy/microlitre) using synthetic viral RNA, clinical nasopharyngeal swab samples and saliva samples, including samples previously diagnosed as negative by clinical diagnostic testing.
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) has announced the launch of the ‘“Your Data, Your Identity’” initiative that aims to update personal information through the FAIC’s smartphone application, or through the authority’s website.
Brigadier Murshid Al Mazrouei, Executive Director of Population Data at the Federal Authority, said the initiative aims to meet the goals of the medical sector and other sectors within the coordinated efforts to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The initiative provides a digital system that meets the requirements of the health sector and other sectors. It is a pivotal role in ensuring the continuity of government services and providing them in accordance with the best standards of efficiency and flexibility,” said Brig Al MazroueiAl Amazroui said during the Ppress brieifing on Tuesday.
The first phase of the initiative aims to update the data of UAE nationals starting October 28, 2020, and extending up to a month, and will be followed by all other segments of society at a later stage.
The first phase of the initiative targets the age groups 18 to 60 years, in which each adult must be responsible for updating his or her personal data as well as those who are on his family register.
Abu Dhabi, Department of Health, and the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center in collaboration with National Health Insurance Company-Daman, has launched the pilot phase of a new initiative which aims to provide high-risk individuals in the emirate (including elderly senior citizens and residents above the age of 60 suffering from chronic conditions), with comprehensive healthcare services.
The initiative, which is set to benefit around 12,000 patients during the pilot phase, will help participants continue their treatment plans while ensuring their continued health and safety.
In coordination with public and private healthcare facilities, DoH, Abu Dhabi Centre of Public Health and Daman is reaching out to target groups to raise awareness on the key benefits of the healthcare services provided through the initiative, including doctor’s remote consultations, remote monitoring and home healthcare. Furthermore, DoH is also helping to coordinate visits to healthcare facilities if the health condition of patients require so.
The first group of targeted individuals were identified by DoH based on DOH and Daman’s risk stratification algorithm, which identifies individuals with serious or chronic illness using a member’s claim history and Daman’s data analytics capabilities.
This initiative is part of DoH and Abu Dhabi Public Health Center ‘Commnity Healthcare programme for senior citizens suffering from chronic diseases’, which aims to continue the treatment plans for high-risk groups who are more prone to experiencing complications as a result of a COVID-19 infection, in addition to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of society at large.
Field inspectors from the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection, CCCP, Sector in Dubai Economy continued their visits to open markets and shopping centres across the emirate to ensure that commercial establishments commit to the precautionary measures against COVID-19
UAE to issue permits for overseas workers for first time in seven months
The UAE will allow some employers to hire staff from abroad for the first time in seven months. Government departments and semi-public sector firms can now secure work permits for new arrivals. Families can also process work permits for domestic workers who are arriving from outside the country.
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), the country's main immigration agency, announced the move on Monday. It said the process was intended for 'vital sectors' such as health care, transport and sanitation.
Employers have been able to make some hires from abroad, depending on the circumstances and profession. But foreign workers have largely been difficult to bring into the country due to the pandemic.
Domestic workers looking to take up job offers will be given work permits. Work permits for those living in the country were already being renewed.
Government Resume issue of visa for domestic workers
The Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship has started re-issuing visas for domestic workers into the country. The Authority also announced that it is to resume issuing entry permits for employees working for the country's government and semi-government organisations and other vital sectors.
The resumption of this service is within the framework of strengthening the country's efforts towards supporting recovery plans, the economy as well as the tourism industry. It is also in coordination with the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority. Applicants can submit applications via the Authority's website with precautionary and preventive measures required at state borders, and must present a negative COVID-19 test before arrival into the country. Employers are required to ensure arrivals enter a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival, in coordination with concerning bodies.
The Authority added that it will continue to allow entry of domestic workers of all nationalities with valid residency permits as well as government, semi-government and vital sector employees, provided that their employers submit applications via the authority's website (ica.gov.ae).
The Authority stressed the importance of adhering to the pre-testing procedures before visiting the country, as part of precautionary measures taken by authorities to confront the pandemic.
The UAE halted entry to tourists, in March to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The United Arab Emirates has released a total of Dh126.5 billion (US$34.4 billion) worth of stimulus packages in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The set of stimulus packages includes:
- Allocation of Dh5 billion to subsidize water and electricity for citizens, and commercial and industrial activities
- Exemption of all commercial and industrial activities from Tawtheeq fees (Tawtheeq is a system that charges a fee for anyone registering a leasable property), of startups from performance guarantees, of all vehicles from road tolls, and commercial vehicles from annual registration fees
- Reduction of fees, including work permit fees for businesses with 1-6 workers, fees charged by the Ministry of Economy, industrial land leasing fees (by 25%) for new contracts, discount of 20% on rental values for restaurants, tourism and entertainment sectors
- Suspension of collection of administrative fines by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiritisation, of bid bonds, of tourism and municipality fees for tourism and entertainment sectors,
The government also launched the #StayHome campaign and will penalize anyone who violates. Exemptions are for those buying medicines or groceries and those working in vital sectors.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiritisation (MoHRE) released a resolution (No. 279) allowing private sector establishments to:
- Implement a remote working system
- Reduce salaries of employees either permanently or for a temporary period
- Send them on paid or unpaid leave
According to one provision of the resolution, any establishment wishing to permanently reduce the salaries of non-national workers shall apply for ‘employment contract details amendment’ service to obtain the ministry’s approval.
The said resolution will only apply while precautionary measures made by the government in response to COVID-19 are in place.
Migrant workers in UAE number at 8.7 million, second to Saudi Arabia (with 10 million migrant workers).