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The UAE and vaccinations
Posted on Jun 30, 2015 by Rob McBroom
Are you aware of the vaccination requirements in the UAE and how health insurance providers in Dubai will cover them? Read this article to learn more.
The recent MERS outbreak in South Korea has launched a number of questions that many are struggling to answer. While there are some new questions, one of the most common being asked is centered around vaccines. In this particular case, there is no actual vaccine for MERS at this time, but health organizations around the world are undoubtedly rushing to develop one.
While there has been an increasing reluctance towards vaccinations, there is little doubt that vaccines like that for MERS, which is upcoming, and the numerous other crippling diseases out there have played a big, big role in helping increase not only our own health, but also to eliminate or manage outbreaks of deadly diseases.
As a quick overview: All vaccines are made with a weakened or even dead form of a disease that is injected into the body with the intent of getting your immune system to recognize it as harmful and teach itself how to kill the disease when it comes across it again.
Since the invention of the modern smallpox vaccine in the late 1790s we have seen a number of vaccines released including vaccines for:
- Hepatitis A B and C
- The flu
- Yellow fever
and many more. Due to these vaccines, and the many others currently available, we have seen a dramatic decrease in outbreaks and deaths related to these diseases. This has led to many countries adopting recommended or mandatory vaccination requirements. The thing is, these requirements can vary by country - including the UAE. If you are currently in the UAE, or considering moving to the region, it would be a good idea to be aware of what vaccines are necessary.
Vaccines in the UAE
Like many other countries, leaders in the UAE take vaccinations seriously and, in order to help children develop immunities, have adopted a recommended “vaccination schedule” that lays out what vaccinations are to be give to them and when. There are also recommended vaccinations that adults should have in order to be admitted to the country. To help, here is a mini guide on vaccinations in the UAE
For expats with children born in the UAE
If you are living in the UAE with young children, or are considering moving your family there, there are no countrywide mandatory vaccinations, though the individual Emirates each have their own suggested vaccination schedule for children born or living in the UAE. While these schedules are not mandatory to follow, one thing to think about is that many schools or education centers will actually refuse to accept your child if they have not received the recommended immunizations.
Since each Emirate has slightly different schedules, it would be a good idea to check with the government to make sure your child is receiving the correct immunizations. Almost all major locations have a schedule posted online. For example, the schedule for Dubai can be accessed here, while Abu Dhabi’s Education Council has a school immunization schedule that can be found here.
It would also be a good idea to check with your physician as well, as they can provide more in-depth information on exactly when your child should be receiving their shots and what can be done if they are older than the suggested ages for immunization.
For expats considering moving to the UAE
As with children, there are no official immunization requirements for adults entering the UAE. That being said, if you are applying for visas you may be required to provide records that you have had immunizations as a requirement to get the visa.
For expats considering moving to the UAE, it would be a good idea to look up which vaccinations are recommended. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) you should have at least your routine immunizations along with Hep A/B, typhoid and possibly rabies (depending on where you come from) before you go to the country.
If you are already in the UAE, it would be worth it to contact your doctor or the health board of your city (e.g., the DHA if you are in Dubai), and seek their advice as to what vaccinations - if any - you will need.
Where do I get vaccines?
In the UAE, vaccinations can only be given by certified clinics and hospitals. While all government hospitals will be able to give vaccinations, they will not usually treat expats. Instead, you are going to have to go to a private clinic or hospital. It would be a good idea to contact the clinic you are considering and ask them if they can provide immunizations.
Will my insurance cover vaccinations?
Many expats who need vaccinations in the UAE wonder if their health insurance plans will cover the costs - which can vary depending on the facility you select. In the UAE, there is no set rule stating that insurance companies must cover immunizations, and, in fact, many international medical insurance providers treat them as a bonus or extra coverage. Many providers will include coverage with their higher level health insurance plans in the UAE. Other providers will cover immunizations but will impose a cap or limit as to how much they will cover - which means you will need to pay out of pocket if you go over this limit. Others won’t cover them at all.
The key here is to check the coverage elements of your plan and see if vaccines are actually covered. By contacting the insurance experts at UAE Medical Insurance we can help you review what is covered by your plan, and suggest a better plan if there are other options available. Contact us today to see how we can help.