x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Vaccinate your children or face fines, proposed UAE law states

A federal law on communicable diseases, which includes a nationwide immunisation plan, has been referred to the FNC for debate.

Parents who fail to have their children vaccinated could be fined up to Dh10,000.

After birth, every baby will have to follow a nationwide immunisation plan, according to a federal law on communicable diseases passed to the FNC yesterday.

It also requires anyone who believes they may have a communicable disease to report it to the nearest medical centre or the Ministry of Health.

The diseases that must be reported immediately include anthrax, cholera, diphtheria, enterohaemorrhagic E coli infection, food poisoning, HIV and Aids, bird flu and Legionnaire’s disease.

Doctors and other health workers are also required to report any suspected cases of these diseases. If they fail to do so, they could face jail and a fine of up to Dh10,000.

When cases are reported to the ministry or a hospital or clinic, officials will be required to investigate the origin of infection, and take steps to prevent its further spread.

If they are a student or a teacher, they will not be allowed back to school or work until they are clear of illness. They will be entitled to sick leave during this time.

In cases of infection clusters, the ministry will be required to investigate and prevent further spread.

The minister will have the power to order establishments, including schools, cinemas, fun fairs and gyms, to close temporarily and undergo decontamination if they are identified as a source of infection.

The ministry will cover the costs of treatment and vaccinations.

Those who report their own infection will be allowed to remain anonymous and will not face penalties. But those who know they are carriers and fail to report it could face jail and a fine of up to Dh50,000.

Those who know they are carriers and spread the disease intentionally will face up to five years in jail and up to a Dh100,000 fine.

Those planning to participate in  Haj or Umrah will need to be vaccinated before and after their trips.

The law has been referred to the FNC’s Labour, Health, and Social Affairs committee for debate.

osalem@thenational.ae