The green pass.
Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The adoption of a unified colour coding system for UAE’s vaccine registry is expected to ease COVID-19 restrictions, and aid the UAE’s economic recovery.

An overwhelming majority of the UAE’s eligible population has now been vaccinated against COVID-19, and with the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) approving the green pass system, which categorises individuals testing negative for COVID-19 in six different categories, organisations across the UAE can introduce entry, access and attendance regulations based on their needs.

As the system comes into widespread use, we can expect that more people will need to become familiar with the app and the green pass categories introduced last week. Here is all you need to know about the UAE’s vaccine registry and green pass system:

What is Al Hosn app and who is it for?

Al Hosn app is the UAE’s official vaccine registry that includes details of all PCR testing undertaken by individuals. The app has become an essential tool for residents and visitors as the UAE continues to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

The app is available was developed as a joint initiative between the Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Department of Health — Abu Dhabi (DoH) and Dubai Health Authority, and launched on April 25, 2020. Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE’s health sector, then urged residents to download the app, saying it would help trace COVID-10 cases and flatten the curve.

Where is Al Hosn app available for download?

Since the start, Al Hosn has been available for download on both iOS AppStore and Android PlayStore.

It is about 36MB in size on both mobile operating systems.

What is needed to use Al Hosn app?

After downloading the app, you have to authenticate your identity with your Emirates ID and phone number, then enter the one-time password sent to your mobile device.

You must also turn on Bluetooth and push notifications, and the app will continue running in the background.

In what languages is the app available?

The app is currently available in Arabic, English and Hindi.

What exactly does the app do?

Al Hosn app can detect if you have been in proximity to people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or to people who have had contact with others infected with the novel coronavirus. It uses short-distance Bluetooth signals to determine this, using the app on your phone and apps on the phones or mobile devices of other users. Both phones then exchange anonymised IDs, which are then stored in encrypted form on your phone.

Using the stored anonymised IDs, health authorities can quickly identify and contact people at risk of infection so they can be retested if needed. For security purposes, the app is encrypted and the information remains only on the user’s phone. Every user who downloads the app will have a unique QR code that is periodically updated. The QR code contains information about the user’s health.

In terms of user features, the app allows you to check your COVID-19 testing results, and view details about your vaccination status.

Why do I need Al Hosn app?

As the official platform for COVID-19 records, Al Hosn chronicles the results of all your COVID-19 screenings taken in the UAE. And even though you will receive COVID-19 screening results via SMS, it is the Al Hosn record that is today accepted as definitive proof for official purposes, including entry to events, government facilities and travel permits.

Here are some of the instances when you might need to show the record of your COVID-19 screening on Al Hosn:

Entry into Abu Dhabi Emirate: Entry is only permitted if you can prove your COVID-19 negative status with a valid (taken within the specified validity period for the particular test type) result on your Al Hosn app at the emirate’s borders.

Access to various events: Increasingly, more and more events require attendees to present proof of their COVID-19 negative status on Al Hosn.

Access to schools: In Abu Dhabi Emirate, parents must present proof of their COVID-19 negative status on Al Hosn before being allowed to enter school premises.

Proof of vaccination: Under its expanded role, it is the proof of vaccination on Al Hosn that is accepted officially if you wish to show that you have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose, or are fully vaccinated — i.e., received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and completed 28 days after the second dose.

Can I have more than one person’s details on my Al Hosn?

Al Hosn allows users to input the details of more than one person. In this case, a list of all the people and their Emirates IDs will show when the app is first opened. You will have to click on a person’s name to see their individual testing and vaccination record.

What are the latest changes to Al Hosn after it has been allocated as the national vaccine registry?

Previously, Al Hosn showed vaccination status with a gold star for those who participated in UAE COVID-19 vaccine trials, or the letter ‘E’. This was conferred after a person had received both doses of the vaccine and completed 28 days after the second dose.

Now, the app includes complete details of your vaccination status, including how many COVID-19 vaccine doses you have received, which vaccine was taken and on what dates.

It is now also possible to generate and share an official vaccination report.

Finally, a green pass system categorises users into six different categories: fully vaccinated, second dose recipients, first dose recipients waiting for a second dose appointment or late to their second dose appointment, those exempt from receiving the vaccine and the non-vaccinated.

The official vaccination card.
Image Credit: Samihah Zaman/Gulf News

Where does the app show all this information?

A number of elements show up on each person’s personal screen, which can be accessed by clicking on a person’s name on the home screen. These are personal details, including your picture, full name according to your Emirates ID, and your Emirates ID number.

Vaccination status: If you are fully vaccinated, the screen has another line of text in yellow stating this, with the date of the second vaccine dose.

QR code: This is the regularly updated QR code — typically every 10 minutes, along with your COVID-19 status, either Positive or Negative. It also shows if the test is expired (as in Negative — Expired), which means that a PCR test has been taken more than seven days ago.

Vaccination status: With the tag “For medical use only”, the app now includes details about your vaccine doses, the date they were taken, and which vaccine was given.

Previous COVID-19 test results: These are listed below, along with the type of test taken — DPI or PCR, the date on which it was taken, and the result.

The colour of the QR code is also an indicator of your health on Al Hosn.

Grey: COVID-19 negative, but with no PCR test taken within the last seven days

Green: COVID-19 negative, subdivided into six other categories as per the green pass system:

Category 1: Vaccinated individual who has received the second vaccine dose at least 28 days earlier, or is a volunteer in vaccine trials. A negative PCR test result will see the Al Hosn status appear in green for 30 days, as well as show the active icon — letter E for vaccine recipients or a gold star for vaccine trial participants — for seven days.

Category 2: Vaccinated individual who has received the second vaccine dose less than 28 days ago. A negative PCR test result will see the Al Hosn status appear in green for 14 days.

Category 3: Individual who has received the first vaccine dose, and is waiting for the second dose appointment. A negative PCR test result will see the Al Hosn status appear in green for seven days.

Category 4: Individual who has received the first vaccine dose, but is late to the second dose appointment by 48 days or more. A negative PCR test result will see the Al Hosn status appear in green for three days.

Category 5: Individual with a vaccine exemption certificate. A negative PCR test result will see the Al Hosn status appear in green for seven days.

Category 6: Individual who is not vaccinated, and does not have a vaccine exemption certificate. A negative PCR test result will see the Al Hosn status appear in green for three days.

What can you do with the information presented on Al Hosn?

You can download the app-presented COVID-19 test and vaccination results, or you can share them via an email or messaging client.

The app also allows you to download official certificates, in PDF form, for both COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. This includes the information in both English and Arabic, with official letterheads. The vaccination card also includes details of the vaccination centres where you have received each dose.

Finally, you may have to present your green pass to access a variety of events and venues, and it is best to check the requirements before heading somewhere.

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