UAE vaccine COVID-19: Kids under 12 can’t have the vaccine. Can they still attend events?

Weddings are back on in Dubai. But can young children attend?
Weddings are back on in Dubai. But can young children attend? Image Credit: Shutterstock

Children who have not had the COVID-19 vaccine are not allowed to attend events such as community sports events, exhibitions and weddings in Dubai, authorities have clarified.

Kids aged 12 and above are eligible to receive the vaccine, and must have been vaccinated before they are allowed to attend such events.

Children below the age of 12 are not eligible to take the vaccine, and are not able to attend such events at all.

New regulations now in force 

Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced updated precautionary measures for events and activities, effective from 17 May 2021.

According to the revised measures, weddings in hotels may now have up to 100 attendees, and community sports and social events may now take place, so long as all participants have been vaccinated.

However, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority tweeted on 25 May that attendance to all events, exhibitions, activities and sports, cultural, social and art events would be limited only to those who have had the COVID vaccine, effective June 6 2021. 

This is in addition to the requirement to present a negative PCR test result within a maximum of 48 hours prior to the date of the event. The authority added that according the new guidelines, the letter E or the gold star should be visible on attendees’ Al Hosn app to prove their vaccination status.

This has left parents of younger children with a question. Since kids below the age of 12 still unable to take the vaccine, what does this mean for children’s attendance at family and social events such as weddings?

Since young children are not able to be vaccinated yet, will they be able to attend family weddings?

A spokesperson for the Dubai Government said in an exclusive interview with Gulf News: “The relaxation of the recent precautionary measures announced by the Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has helped weddings return. Up to 100 people can attend the ceremony if they were fully vaccinated, including children who already took both doses.”

Since children are not able to be vaccinated yet, will they be able to attend or take part in community sports events, concerts and other events that require attendees to be vaccinated?

A spokesperson for the Dubai Government clarified for Gulf News: “The Ministry of Health and Prevention has recently approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children in the 12 to 15 age group in the UAE. So once they are fully vaccinated then they will be able to attend those gatherings.

“Children who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to take part in the community events for their own safety and the safety of others. It is worth noting that the situation will be assessed after one month of implementing these new measures.”

The new Dubai COVID-19 rules overhaul

In Dubai live entertainment and activities are now allowed to be held in restaurants, cafes and shopping malls for a trial period of one month (extendable) starting 17 May 2021, on the condition that the latest precautionary measures are observed and performers and entertainers have taken the COVID-19 vaccine.

All entertainment facilities and venues can have an increased capacity of 70% while hotels can raise their occupancy ceiling to 100%.

Wedding events are allowed to be held with the maximum attendance capped at 100 for wedding venues/hotels; all attendees and staff should have received the COVID-19 vaccination. Attendance at wedding events at homes is capped at 30; all attendees should strictly observe updated precautionary measures, including social distancing rules and wearing of masks.

Permits will also be given for community sports events, concerts and social and institutional events like gala dinners and award ceremonies for a trial period of one month (extendable) starting from 17 May on the condition that attendees and participants have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and observe the latest precautionary measures as required under the permit type.

Fans and spectators will also be able to attend sports events provided all attendees, participants and staff have received the COVID-19 vaccine. The attendance capacity for these permitted events should not exceed 70%. The maximum attendance allowed for such events that receive permits after the updated precautionary measures come into effect on 17 May, is 1,500 for indoor events and 2,500 for outdoor events.

The maximum number of people allowed to sit on a single table at restaurants has been increased to 10. Coffee shops can have a maximum of six people per table. Restaurants are allowed to resume brunches with strict observance of updated precautionary measures outlined by authorities.

The Supreme Committee stressed that it continues to be mandatory for people attending events and activities to wear face masks and observe minimum physical distancing of two metres.

How to get your child the COVID-19 vaccine in Dubai

On May 13, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) announced that it has approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the age group of 12 to 15 year olds, under the outcomes of clinical trials and a strict assessment conducted to approve the emergency local use of the vaccine.

However, children below the age of 12 are still not able to receive the vaccine.

You can easily book an appointment for your child aged 12 years and over to have the COVID-19 vaccine by downloading the ‘COVID-19 UAE’ app, created by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), which is available on both Android and Apple devices.

Simply download the app, select the option for ‘Child 12+’ and enter your child’s details.