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India-Dubai travel: Pregnant women, new mums long to reunite with families in UAE

Uncertainty about return flight plans looms large, as many have yet to receive the Covid-19 jab.

The easing of travel restrictions on passengers from India has been welcomed widely by UAE residents, who were unable to return to their base in the Emirates for weeks, following the suspension of incoming flights from these countries in April.

However, a cross-section of people is unsure if they will be allowed to travel or return anytime soon. This includes pregnant and lactating mothers, who haven’t taken the vaccine yet.

Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has said that returning passengers must be fully vaccinated in order to board a flight from India.

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Prachi Shah, mum to a five-month-old baby, is disheartened and awaiting further clarifications.

“I came to India in November for my delivery. I planned to fly back in May before my UAE visa expired, but flights were suspended from April 24 onwards. I am not vaccinated, and I worry when I will be able to return to my husband in the UAE,” said Shah.

“I’m more comfortable taking Pfizer-BioNTech, as the company has done clinical trials on lactating mums. But we don’t have that vaccine available in India, which leaves me with little choice. I hope the UAE government makes an exception for new mums and pregnant women. We want to return to our homes and families soon,” she added.

The UAE had started its mass Covid vaccination drive in December. However, pregnant women and lactating mothers were discouraged from taking the shots following a global advisory from the World Health Organization (WHO), which expressed reservations on this front.

It wasn’t until March this year, when Pfizer-BioNTech published the results of clinical trials done on 90,000 women who were either pregnant or were breastfeeding, that governments around the world changed their stance and…

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