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Abu Dhabi aims to curb the COVID-19 outbreak through widespread access to vaccination. Image Credit: Courtesy: Seha

Abu Dhabi: For the last two weeks, hundreds of residents in Abu Dhabi Emirate have been queuing up at health facilities across the emirate to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

An emirate-wide vaccination campaign, Choose to Vaccinate, was launched on Monday, January 4, in line with the UAE’s national vaccination programme.

In a statement to introduce the campaign, the Abu Dhabi Media Office announced that the emirate, which has maintained a low rate of COVID-19 confirmed cases out of total tests conducted — just 0.39 per cent — now aims to curb the COVID-19 outbreak through widespread access to vaccination.

As they continue to get their shots, residents are also questioning what the vaccine means for them in terms of travel and quarantine requirements. The Abu Dhabi Emergencies, Crisis and Disasters Committee and the Abu Dhabi Department of Health updated the screening protocols on Sunday, January 17.

Here is a rundown of all the special measures applied in Abu Dhabi for vaccine recipients:

How do I know I qualify for special exemptions?

On your Al Hosn app, if you received the vaccine as part of the national vaccination programme, the letter ‘E’ will show after you take a PCR test 28 days after your second dose of the vaccine. If you received the vaccine as a COVID-19 vaccine trial volunteer, your Alhosn app will show a golden star after you have completed all your trial-related doses and medical checks, and have taken a PCR test. As long as this symbol appears on your app, you will qualify for the exemptions.

Can I lose access to the exemptions?

All vaccine recipients must continue to undertake COVID-19 PCR tests every seven days. As long as they do so and remain negative for COVID-19, the letter ‘E’ or a golden star will continue to show up on the Alhosn app, and they will be eligible for the special exemptions.

If I have been travelling within the UAE, do I need to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter Abu Dhabi?

No, as long as your Al Hosn app includes the special identification mark — ‘E’ or a star.

If I have been travelling within the UAE, do I need to take a PCR COVID-19 test on Day 4 and Day 8 after entering Abu Dhabi?

No. As long as your Alhosn app shows the ‘E’ identification mark or a golden star, you are exempt from having to take subsequent PCR tests after returning to Abu Dhabi.

When returning to Abu Dhabi, what benefits do I have as a vaccine recipient?

You are authorised to use all emergency vehicle lanes for a smooth journey when entering Abu Dhabi.

If I want to travel out of the UAE, do I need to take a PCR COVID-19 test first?


Once I return to the UAE, do I need to take a PCR COVID-19 test?

Yes, upon arrival.

If you have returned from one of the ‘green’ countries, regions and territories, you do not need to quarantine, but must take a subsequent PCR test on Day 6.

If you have returned from any other place, you must quarantine yourself for 10 days, and also take a subsequent PCR test on Day 8.

Do I have to quarantine myself for 10 days after returning to the UAE from abroad?

Yes, if you have returned from a place that is not on the list of ‘green’ countries, regions and territories.

Do I have to quarantine myself if I am a vaccine recipient and have come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Yes, for five days. On Day 4, you have to take a PCR test. If you test negative, you can then end your quarantine.

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A vaccine trial centre in Abu Dhabi last year. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Is there a difference between a vaccine recipient and a person who has participated in the vaccine trials in the UAE?

The main difference is that the identification marker for vaccine trial participants on Al Hosn is a golden star, whereas those who get the vaccine as part of the vaccination programme are identified by the letter ‘E’. Vaccine trial participants may have to undergo medical checks on a different schedule compared to others who receive the vaccine.

As a business owner, do I benefit if my employees are vaccinated?

From January 10 onwards, all employees in Abu Dhabi’s service sectors have had to undergo COVID-19 PCR tests every 14 days, and employers have had to to bear testing costs. The directive applies to workers in restaurants, cafés, supermarkets, groceries, bakeries, butchers, vegetable and fruit retailers, malls, and commercial centres, as announced by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

However, employees who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are exempt from this testing requirement.