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UAE offers COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for adults amid concern over Omicron

The UAE announced on Sunday that it has made COVID-19 vaccine booster shots available for everyone over the age of 18, as international concern rises over the spread of the new variant Omicron across the globe.

“The ministry has made the booster shot available for all categories of people over the age of 18 who have received two doses of the Pfizer-BionTech and Sputnik vaccine, given that six months have passed since they received the second dose,” said UAE health sector spokesperson Farida al-Hosani.

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“We advise everyone to take the booster dose as soon as possible, specifically the elderly and those with chronic diseases. Vaccination contributes to increasing immunity and preventing infection, severe symptoms and deaths, especially when dealing with variants,” she added.

The WHO had declared on Friday that Omicron, which was detected earlier this month in South Africa, was a variant of concern.

The health organization said on Sunday that standard PCR tests for COVID-19 can detect infection with Omicron, and that the new variant has an increased risk of reinfection, according to preliminary evidence.

The new variant has been detected in several countries. Omicron infections were reported in South Africa, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong, Botswana, and Czech.

The UAE has announced on Friday suspending the entry of travelers from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mozambique.

However, Emirati citizens will be allowed to enter the UAE coming from those countries given that they present a negative COVID-19 tests obtained within 48 hours of departure, take a PCR test upon arrival in the airport and quarantine for 10 days.

The UAE has reported earlier this month that 100 percent of the population has received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 90.3 percent have been fully vaccinated.

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Read more:

WHO says PCR tests detect Omicron, new COVID-19 variant has higher reinfection risk

First image of Omicron shows many more mutations than Delta variant

COVID-19 variant Omicron brings back travel curbs worldwide: All you need to know

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