Abu Dhabi begins offering free COVID-19 vaccines to visitors

Stock UAE vaccine SEHA
A vaccination centre in Abu Dhabi, run by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha). Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Courtesy: Seha

Abu Dhabi: Visitors to Abu Dhabi can now be vaccinated against COVID-19, as long as they have a visa issued by Abu Dhabi authorities, or a visa-on-arrival stamped at any Abu Dhabi entry point.

The vaccine eligibility for visitors has been intimated by the emirate’s public health service provider, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), on its app.

“The vaccine is only available for the following type of visitors: Holders of visas issued by Abu Dhabi emirate [and] holders of passports eligible for visas on arrival with an entry stamp at an Abu Dhabi point of entry. Proof of the above is required at the time of vaccination,” Seha announced.

Widespread inoculation campaign

The vaccine rollout to visitors follows a widespread vaccination campaign in the emirate and in the rest of the country. More than 85 per cent of people eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the UAE — residents aged 16 years and above — have already been inoculated. The push is now on to vaccinate residents aged 60 years and older and to offer booster doses to those already vaccinated. Abu Dhabi is also conducting an immune bridge study to investigate the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged three to 17 years. Abu Dhabi authorities also announced earlier this month that all individuals with expired residency and entry permits can now get vaccinated, in the interest of public health and safety.

Easing restrictions

The emirate is currently preparing to ease COVID-19 restrictions as its tourism and culture regulator — the Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi — proceeds with multiple projects designed to boost tourism in the emirate. Earlier today, it announced that cruise liners will be welcomed at Abu Dhabi ports from September onwards. Along with this, the emirate has set up a robust testing network through Seha, with more than 23 COVID-19 testing facilities, three dedicated hospitals, five field hospitals and two prime assessment centres that cater to travellers and those in home quarantine. Alongside, G42 Healthcare, an indigenous health technology company, has set up full-scale labs to analyse vaccine efficacy and COVID-19 variants.

Travel and tourism operators have welcomed the move to vaccinate tourists and visitors to Abu Dhabi.

“Abu Dhabi’s generous move to give vaccine to tourists is a welcome development. This will not only secure the health and safety of our community, but will also give a big boost to the travel industry,” said Malou Prado, managing director of MPQ Travel and Tourism.

Last month, a group of Chinese tourists received their first dose of Sinopharm vaccine, administered by Dubai Health Authority (DHA), at Al Safa Primary Health Centre in Jumeirah. They were the first non-UAE residents to receive free COVID-19 vaccines in the UAE.