COVID-19: Some UAE firms ask unvaccinated staff to take PCR tests regularly

Staff has to bear expenses for the test on their own, companies say

Some UAE-based companies have been asking employees, who are yet to receive their Covid-19 jabs, to submit negative PCR test reports once a fortnight at their own expenses to ensure the health safety of other employees and clients.

Senior officials in the private sector said that a large number of their employees have received Covid-19 jabs, and the rest would be administered the vaccine soon.

“Flydubai continues to facilitate Covid-19 vaccines for its employees and complies with all government requirements,” the budget carrier’s spokesperson said in a statement.

Abdul Salam KP, Group Executive Director of Malabar Gold and Diamonds, said around 60 per cent of his staff have received both the doses of a Covid-19 jab.

“We’re encouraging everyone to take the jab. The only exceptions are those employees, who have already tested Covid-19 positive. They're not taking the jab immediately. Those, who are yet to receive the vaccine, have been urged to take the PCR test once a fortnight for the safety of their colleagues and clients,” he said.

Salam, who is a treasurer of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, said the group has been arranging special vaccination programmes for all its staff members.

“We’re continuing the vaccination drive. Over 2,500 employees have been vaccinated through centres reserved for Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group workers,” he said.

Salam said that whenever an employee from his sector tests Covid-19 positive, other workers quarantine themselves and also undergo tests.

“We replace that staff with others and make sure that they’re quarantined and tested negative before they're allowed to resume their work,” he added.

Prem Balakrishnan, human resources (HR) manager at beauty products company Alphaitalia, said although taking the Covid-19 vaccine is optional for the firm’s employees, the firm has ensured that all the employees and their families have taken the jab by collaborating with Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

“Those who have not taken the jabs were asked to submit PCR tests at their own cost on a regular basis,” Balakrishnan said.

He added that “vaccines are the only way to protect ourselves from the deadly disease and to stop the spread among our family members, colleagues and the neighbourhood. The UAE government deserves kudos, as the vaccine is free for all the residents.”

According to the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), 11.18 million (m) doses of Covid-19 vaccines were administered until Monday (May 10).

Data showed 113.10 per 100 people is the rate of vaccination in the country.

A recent study has found that Covid-19 vaccines are 93 per cent effective in preventing hospitalisation, and the efficacy is 95 per cent for those patients, who need to be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU).

Rizwan Sajan, chairman of Danube Group, said his company has vaccinated all its employees.

“We’ve not enforced the vaccination on our employees. However, we’re proud to say that our organisation is 100 per cent vaccinated. Now, all our employees are coming to work. I took it upon myself to educate the employees about the benefits of the vaccine. Initially, my senior leadership and I took the jab, and later the teams followed in our footsteps. Nothing is more important for us as a group than the welfare of our staff,” added Sajan.

The UAE has also rolled out Hayat-Vax, which is being manufactured in the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK).

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