COVID-19 vaccine UAE: Can I be compelled to take the jab?

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Vials labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" are placed on dry ice in this illustration taken, December 5, 2020.

Vials labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" are placed on dry ice in this illustration taken, December 5, 2020.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Question: I have read that Covid-19 vaccines have been rolled out in Abu Dhabi. Can my company or the government force me to take the vaccine if I do not want to? Will it be legally okay to decline the vaccine? Please advise.

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, the provisions of Federal Law No. (27) of 1981 Concerning Communicable Disease Prevention (the Prevention of Communicable Disease Law) and Cabinet Resolution No. (17) of 2020 Regulating the Violations of Precautionary Measures and Instructions and Duties Imposed to Curb the Spread of Novel Coronavirus (the Cabinet Resolution) are applicable.

It is understood that the Government of Abu Dhabi has announced that the Covid-19 vaccine is available. However, until now the Government has not made any announcement whether it is mandatory for the residents of Abu Dhabi to take the said vaccine.

Article 22 (1) of the Prevention of Communicable Disease Law, states: “In areas of occurrence or possible occurrence of smallpox, cholera, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, measles, tuberculosis, typhoid or any other epidemic disease that can be prevented by vaccination or immunisation, the Ministry may issue an announcement to be published in the Official Gazette and other media, specifying the infected area and compelling any person in the area to receive mandatory vaccination and immunisation for the prevention of the disease.”

Further, Article 1 (1) of the Cabinet Resolution, states: “A natural or legal person shall not violate the precautionary and preventive measures and instructions and duties regarding health and safety preservation in order to control the risk of spread of the coronavirus issued by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Ministry of Interior and the National Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Management Authority.”

In the event the Government of Abu Dhabi makes it mandatory for all the residents to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, then the aforementioned provision of law may be applicable.

It is recommended that you contact the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) for further information and advice related to Covid-19 vaccination rules and regulations.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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