Covid-19 in UAE: Do vaccinated people need to quarantine?



Dubai - Regulatory authorities in the UAE need to take the call, say doctors.

By Nandini Sircar

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Published: Sun 14 Feb 2021, 7:24 PM

Last updated: Mon 15 Feb 2021, 6:31 AM

Quarantine is recommended for healthy people who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, as it helps to keep the contagion at bay, UAE doctors have said.

They were reacting to the United States’s Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's announcement that people who have received the vaccine against Covid-19 do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to the coronavirus.

Doctors in the UAE said the announcement cannot be followed in the country without the approval of the regulatory authorities.

Dr Prashant CK, a specialist physician at Aster Ajman, said, “This cannot be applied randomly, as it needs to be decided by the regulatory authorities. CDC has based guidance on the basis of efficacy of vaccines approved by it. It’s probable that the authorities here will take a decision in future based on the efficacy of vaccines available in the UAE.”

He added: “It can definitely be considered after the current peak comes down in the UAE. Acceptance of vaccination is high here. Compliance to measures has generally been better as compared to the other countries.”

From available studies, it’s known that symptomatic and severe infections are less likely to be seen in people who have received the complete dose of the vaccine. Corresponding viral load and risk of transmission is also likely to be lower.

Dr Nivas Abobaker, a family physician, Prime Medical Center’s Motor City branch in Dubai, said, “I think that it’s good news for us, especially because it will reduce the burden of quarantine. But it is imperative to wait for more data before implementing this, simply because it is not clear yet whether vaccinated individuals who are exposed to the virus can transmit the virus to others. So, I think it is feasible to adopt these new measures only when 60 per cent of the population has taken both the doses of the vaccine and roughly after 14 days since the second dose.”

Dr Dirar Abdallah, a consultant of internal medicine at Prime Hospital, Dubai, said, “CDC has made this recommendation, but it has not yet been implemented in the UAE. The guidance also says the risk that fully vaccinated people could spread the coronavirus to others is still uncertain. Everybody needs more time to see the effect of the vaccine on the vaccinated people. Basically, we need to assess the immunological response of the body and whether it can spread from vaccinated people who are exposed to positive patients. I feel we should be cautious as we know the vaccine is not 100 per cent effective which means there will be a set of people who will get the vaccine but would not develop antibodies against the virus so they will be at the same risk of developing Covid-19 like any person who is not vaccinated, as they can transmit the disease."

In the UAE, it is still recommended that one should undergo quarantine or take maximum precautions once a person has come into contact with an infected person.

Dr Abner Abejo, a specialist of internal medicine, Medeor Hospital, Dubai, said: “Even after vaccination, people are likely to test positive for Covid-19. All of us must stay safe and follow the precautionary measures as strictly as possible. This is because, even after vaccination, the person can carry the virus and infect others. we must follow the guidelines, in case we come in contact with an infected person.”

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