Dubai: The UAE has stopped updating COVID-19 status of residents on the Al Hosn app and its updated version will be made mandatory for vaccination records in schools in future, officials said on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has launched an updated version of the app, which was originally created to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by recording the COVID-positive or negative status of residents.
On Tuesday, the ministry announced that the updated app will now include comprehensive vaccination records for children from birth to 18 years.
Speaking at a press conference after the launch of the updated app on Wednesday, MoHAP officials clarified that the app will no longer show the COVID-19 status of residents.
“Earlier, people could check on the app if they are COVID-positive or negative,” Dr Hussain Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health at MoHAP, said in response to a question by Gulf News.
“Now they can check the vaccination status of their children—when they have got their vaccinations and when the next vaccination is due,” he said.
According to him, health officials here no longer consider COVID as a threat to public health though there have been reports of cases with different mutations globally.
“COVID is now over… If only you are very sick, you’ll go to your physician and he will examine you and he will prescribe the medicines you need. But healthcare facilities are not facing problems with COVID cases now,” Dr Al Rand said, explaining the reason for doing away with the use of the app for COVID reports.
He also confirmed that the Al Hosn app will eventually replace the vaccination record book for children and will be made mandatory for vaccination records in schools.
“Of course, it will be replacing [the vaccination book],” he said.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chairman of the Education and Human Resources Council, has taken a decision in this regard, said Dr Al Rand.
National Digital Health app
The Al Hosn app is now described as the UAE’s National Digital Health App integrated with MoHAP’s Riayati platform.
The Riayati digital platform is an integral component of the National Unified Medical Record (NUMR).
Dr Nada Al Marzooqi, director of Public Health and Prevention at MoHAP, said the app will be further enhanced to include all vaccination reports of residents of different age categories.
However, she clarified that at this stage, the app only provides records of children who vaccinations are documented with healthcare facilities in Northern Emirates.
“The beta version is now in use. You can update the app and check if you have children of that age (below 18) and if their vaccination details are recorded in government or private healthcare facilities in Northern Emirates,” she explained.
Dr Al Marzooqi said the app currently shows the due dates for upcoming vaccinations and will in future send out alerts. “We are also pushing awareness messages through the app to educate the parents about different vaccines and the need to take them at certain ages.”
In the next step, children’s immunisation certificates from all the emirates will be integrated into the Al Hosn app, she said.
“It will be easy for the families to check the documents of their kids’ vaccinations and use it whenever they need. This is done in collaboration with the National Immunisation Programme. In future, we will include all vaccination records of residents of different age groups. This will be done in collaboration with the Riayati platform which provides unified medical records.”
Once that happens, residents will be able to download various types of vaccination certificates from the Al Hosn app.
Regarding travel vaccinations, Dr Al Marzooqi said that travel vaccines are provided as mandated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for international travel.
She said that they are exploring the possibility of linking Al Hosn with any app recognised by the WHO in future.
“We are in close collaboration and negotiation with the WHO to see if there is any app ready, so we can link it easily with our application in the future,” she added.