Umrah vaccination includes the Quadruple Meningococcal vaccine against meningitis, and the Seasonal Influenza vaccine. In addition, the Pneumococcal vaccine is particularly important for people with a weak immune system, which includes all people over the age of 65, and patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart, lung (including asthma), liver, and kidney problems.
Umrah vaccination is available to UAE citizens and residents, free of charge, at a number of healthcare facilities across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. To identify the complete list of healthcare facilities that provide this service, or to take an appointment visit: https://www.haad.ae/HAAD/tabid/1198/Default.aspx or call 800 555.
Dr. Farida Al Hosani, Manager of the Communicable Disease Department at HAAD said: “Stemming from our belief that prevention is better than cure, we urge all citizens and residents who intend to perform Umrah, to obtain the necessary vaccinations at least 2 weeks prior to their travel dates. This will serve to protect those vaccinated, as well as the community at large— by reducing the risk of spreading communicable diseases.”
“We invite all persons over the age of 65, children under the age of 12, pregnant women, people with cancer or other terminal illnesses, and those with chronic diseases (such as heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease or diabetes) to consult their doctors about any potential health risks to ensure they are fit to perform Umrah.” Al Hosani added.
In addition to vaccination, HAAD has advised Umrah travellers about the importance of practicing daily hygienic lifestyle habits to prevent the contraction and spread of respiratory infections. This entails washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water or other disinfectants (hand sanitizers) – particularly after coughing or sneezing, using of toilets, and before and after handling and preparation of foods.
It is also advised to cover the nose and the mouth with tissues when coughing or sneezing and immediately disposing of dirty tissues.
Furthermore, people with low immunity should wear masks in crowded places, and replace them as per the instructions of the manufacture and wash their hands after removal. Umra pilgrims are also advised to seek immediate medical attention and avoid contact with others if they develop a severe fever or cough upon their return from Umrah.
HAAD statistics on vaccination rates reveal that 47,000 people obtained the meningococcal vaccine throughout 2016. In addition, since the start of 2017 up until the end of April, approximately 18,000 people have already received the vaccine.
HAAD’s efforts to drive vaccination awareness fall under its ‘Vaccination is Essential’ campaign. The campaign highlights the role that vaccines play in disease prevention, and promotes the use of vaccination in protecting people of all ages. It is also an important platform for informing and educating the public on the latest vaccination programs, with an emphasis on the role of healthcare professionals in educating the community about HAAD’s newly-introduced vaccines.