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Updated 4 January 2022
In an effort to ensure the well-being of its residents and to increase their immunity against the virus, the UAE health authorities have announced vaccine booster shot as ‘necessary’ for some select categories of residents.
Furthermore, amidst the news of the latest strain of the coronavirus, dubbed Omicron, the UAE has also started offering booster shots to adults above 18 years of age.
Keep reading to know more about the booster shot in the UAE, why and where you can get it, and the vaccination regimen you should follow.
Booster shot programme in the UAE
Residents of UAE who are 18 years and above are eligible for a booster shot six months after their last primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm or Sputnik vaccines.
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has started administering a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine to particular residents with compromised immune systems.
Similarly, Abu Dhabi has also made booster doses mandatory for people who were inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine. Vaccinated individuals who had received their second dose of Sinopharm vaccine more than six months ago must receive a booster dose to enhance their immunity.
UAE authorities had earlier primarily encouraged elderly people and patients with health conditions to take the booster shot. However, in light of the new strain omicron first reported in South Africa, the health authorities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have urged all adults aged 18 years and above fully jabbed with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Sputnik V to take the booster shot.
Among the residents eligible for the booster shot are:
- Senior citizens and ex-pats aged 60 years and above.
- Those with chronic illnesses in the 50-59 years age group.
- People with chronic diseases.
- People receiving long-term health care aged 18 and above.
- In Dubai, booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available for those who are 18 years and above and can be taken six months after the second dose.
- Neighboring Abu Dhabi also asked the public to take the booster shots.
The booster shots will be given six months after the second dose. However, individuals who have taken Pfizer or Sputnik jabs after being vaccinated with Sinopharm are not eligible for booster shots.
The small number of residents who took the Russian-made Sputnik V were urged to take the booster shot. The health authorities have not yet stated if those who took the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were eligible for the booster shot.
The residents will also be allowed to attend UAE’s 50th National Day celebrations held across the country, provided they have received a vaccine more than 14 days ago, received a booster shot, or have a green-pass status on their Al Hosn application.
The Federal Authority for Government Resources has called for all UAE federal government employees to receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. Booster doses for government employees in the UAE will be administered by February 2022 and will apply to federal government offices across all emirates. Unvaccinated government employees will no longer be allowed to enter workplaces if they do not have a green status on their Al Hosn app.
Travel ban on UAE citizens
The United Arab Emirates has announced a travel ban on its citizens who are unvaccinated against COVID-19. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also stated that Emiratis and UAE citizens must be fully vaccinated with a booster shot to undertake international travel.
According to the decree issued by the UAE authorities, the restrictions will come into effect from 10 January 2022. Individuals who are medically exempted from taking the Covid-19 vaccine, humanitarian causes, and those travelling for medical and treatment purposes will be exempt from the travel ban.
Why should you get the booster shot?
The vaccine booster shot is necessary for the well-being of the citizens. The booster shot also helps the residents to increase their immunity. Hence, the health authorities have recommended that individuals eligible for the booster shot take this dose on time to protect their health and ensure safety COVID-19 by boosting their immunity.
As stated by Dr Anitha Varghese, vaccines work better with booster shots as it can make a tremendous difference, and one can avoid severe Covid complications by getting booster shots in addition to both doses of a Covid vaccine.
Dr Rasha Alani further stated that a booster dose is essential for immunocompromised conditions or chronic diseases. Furthermore, she noted that the evidence shows that vaccines and boosters that people have received are holding up well to protect them against severe illness, hospitalisation, and death. This is the primary intent of these vaccines.
Dr Al Ghaithi exclaims that the UAE has achieved a leading position, both regionally and globally, in terms of handling the pandemic, due to the cooperation of various sectors that helped achieve strategic balance and sustainable recovery. She further added that these impressive successes have been achieved because of the wise leadership and the commitment and awareness of the UAE community, which will help restore normalcy soon.
Dr Al Hosani advised that everyone has to make sure they received the booster shot on time and they should not postpone, especially the elderly and those with chronic illnesses. She also added that the body’s immunity to coronavirus and its multiple strains would inevitably wane over time, prompting the need for booster doses.
How can you get the booster shot?
There are several vaccination centres in Abu Dhabi administering Pfizer vaccines. For the complete list of vaccination centres, head to doh.gov.au. Vaccination centres under the VPS Healthcare group also offer booster doses for the eligible groups through walk-ins in the Abu Dhabi region.
The vaccine appointments can be booked by calling Seha’s customer service centre on 80050 or through the Seha app.
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination boosters are also available at seven Dubai Health Authority facilities. appointments can be booked through the DHA’s app or through WhatsApp account 800342 by sending a “Hi” message. There is also an Apple and Android app available.
All you have to do now is schedule your appointment once you’ve enrolled. The following clinics provide the vaccine:
- Al Barsha Primary Healthcare Centre
- Al Mizhar Primary Healthcare Centre
- Al Safa Primary Healthcare Centre
- Hatta Hospital
- Nadd Al Hamar Primary Healthcare Centre
- Uptown Mirdif Medical Fitness Centre
- Zabeel Primary Healthcare Centre
Patients should be assessed by their doctors before taking the third dose. If a third dose must be administered, their physicians will book the appointment for them in the same hospital.
To get more information about other centres providing vaccines in the UAE, click here.
How much does a booster shot cost?
The booster shot is available free of cost across the UAE.