UAE makes influenza vaccination mandatory for Umrah and Haj pilgrims – News


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Approved vaccination cards can be obtained through Al Hosn application and presented at travel checkpoints

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Published: Mon 25 Mar 2024, 8:59 PM

Last updated: Mon 25 Mar 2024, 10:57 PM

It is mandatory to take all required doses of vaccination, especially influenza, and to follow all instructions and precautions before UAE pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia for Umrah and Haj rituals.

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention has confirmed that it will be required to present influenza vaccination cards for travellers to Saudi Arabia starting on March 26. This preventive measure is taken as part of its commitment to protecting the health and safety of pilgrims, Haj performers, their families, and all segments of society, from infectious diseases.

Authorities strongly recommended travellers to visit health centres well in advance of departure, particularly for those with chronic illnesses. Vaccinations are readily available at both government health centres and private hospitals for the prevention and controlling of infectious and communicable diseases.

The Ministry has outlined key guidelines before travelling:

  1. Ensuring vaccinations are administered at least ten days prior to travel to ensure their effectiveness and provide sufficient immunity.
  2. Consulting a physician for individuals with chronic conditions to ensure their health stability and suitability for undertaking Hajj and Umrah, along with carrying an adequate supply of medications.
  3. Adhering to all necessary and recommended immunisations and engaging in regular exercise.

The Ministry also clarified that individuals who have previously received the influenza vaccine within the past year are exempt from obtaining a new vaccination. Approved vaccination cards can be obtained through the Al Hosn application and presented at travel checkpoints.

Dr Hussein Abdul Rahman Al Rend, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Sector, emphasized that including the influenza vaccination along with other vaccinations for Haj and Umrah travellers comes within the Ministry’s special attention to ensure their health and safety, especially for those with chronic diseases, the elderly, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.

He affirmed the high-level coordination between the efforts of state institutions concerned with organising and caring for the affairs of pilgrims’ convoys, ensuring their health and safety during performing Haj and Umrah without exposing them to any health problems, aiming to protect them and society from all potential health risks, especially infectious and chronic diseases.

High-risk individuals

If you fall into the category of people who are at high risk of developing flu-related complications, it is especially important that you get the vaccination. You are considered high risk if you:

  • Are above age 65 or under 5
  • Are pregnant
  • Live or work with many other people (i.e. military barracks or nursing homes)
  • Have a weakened immune system (i.e. if you have HIV or cancer)
  • Have a chronic condition (such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma)
  • Are considered obese (with a Body Mass Index of over 40)

Pneumococcal vaccine

The pneumococcal vaccine is available to adults and children above age 2. The Saudi Arabia authorities recommend that pilgrims aged 65 and over get this vaccination prior to travel and also younger adults who have:

  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease (including asthma), liver and kidney disease
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • A damaged spleen or no spleen
  • Other diseases or weakened immune systems that may put them at higher risk

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