The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has issued on July 22 the vaccination and health requirements for pilgrims applying for Hajj visas, according to the Saudi health ministry.
The requirements for this year focus on the likes of the Zika virus, dengue, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS), yellow fever, cholera, meningitis, polio and vaccination against seasonal influenza.
Vaccination against meningitis is mandatory for all local and foreign pilgrims, the International Islamic News Agency (IINA) reported earlier this week.
The flu vaccine isn’t compulsory, but it is desirable to take it considering the climate and susceptibility of pilgrims, the IINA added.
The Saudi authorities have advised high-risk patients – those with ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, and renal problems – to take the flu vaccine, which will help them perform their Hajj and Umrah rituals without problems.
In accordance with the International Health Regulations from 2005, travelers arriving from countries at risk of yellow fever transmission must present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. The life-long certificate is valid from ten days after the vaccination date according to Daily Pakistan.net.
Aircraft, ships, and other means of transportation coming from countries affected by yellow fever are requested to submit a certificate indicating that they applied disinfection in accordance with methods recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Regardless of age and vaccination status, proof of receipt of a dose of oral polio vaccine, or inactivated polio vaccine, within the previous 12 months and at least four weeks prior to departure, is required to apply for an entry visa to Saudi Arabia for travelers arriving from countries including Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, Daily Pakistan.net reported.
The polio vaccine is also required of pilgrims from states no longer affected by the infectious disease, but which remain vulnerable to re-infection.
These include Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Laos, Madagascar, Myanmar, Niger, Ukraine, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent out circulars to all its missions abroad regarding the rules.