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Updated 18 April 2022
The UAE had suspended inbound flights from several African countries and made COVID vaccine booster doses available for everyone over 18 years of age due to the danger posed by the Omicron variant. However, the continuously declining COVID cases have prompted UAE to relax most of its travel restrictions, including mandatory booster doses for travel.
Are UAE travellers required to receive a booster dose for travel? If so, does it apply to international or domestic travel? Read on to find out.
What are booster doses?
Booster doses are an additional shot administered to an individual following a final dose of their vaccine regimen as the immunity protection against the virus wanes over time. A booster COVID dose works as an additional dose that strengthens protection and offers more defensive properties to the immune system to prevent any attacks from the pathogen, or in case, a virus.
In short, booster doses are administered to prime the body’s immune system against the virus it needs to defend against.
Booster dose in the UAE
Booster dose in the UAE were initially meant for residents with compromised immune systems. However, due to the emergence of Omicron, booster doses have since been made available to all residents over the age of 16 or 18.
Booster doses are currently being administered by the UAE health authorities. You are eligible for the booster doses:
- If you received Sinopharm vaccine, and are 16 years or older, you need to take the booster vaccine six months after the second dose. However, individuals who are 16 years or older and have chronic diseases, and those aged 50 years and over can take the booster vaccine three months after the second dose. The booster vaccine can either be of Sinopharm or any other approved vaccine in the UAE.
- If you received Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and you are 18 years or older, you need to take the booster vaccine six months after the second dose. The booster vaccine must be of Pfizer-BioNTech.
- If you received Sputnik V vaccine, and you are 18 years or older, you need to take the booster vaccine six months after the second dose. The booster vaccine can be either Sputnik V or any other approved vaccine in the UAE.
Do residents need booster doses to travel outside of the UAE?
Effective 19 April 2022, they do not.
The current travel rules stipulate that booster doses are mandatory for travelling. However from 19 April 2022, citizens who are not vaccinated with regular or booster doses are allowed to travel, provided they undergo a PCR test within 48 hours before their date of departure. They must also complete the travel forms in the Al Hosn App to turn their application status to green.
Are there countries requiring a booster dose for entry?
There have been only a handful of countries mandating booster doses as a requirement for entry.
The following countries will only accept vaccine certificates whose validity does not exceed 270 days (9 months):
- The Netherlands
Similarly Israel will accept vaccine certificates only as long as they are not older than 6 months.
If the validity of COVID vaccination as mandated by these countries has expired, a booster dose is required to be classified as fully vaccinated.