UAE launches health safety drive for Haj pilgrims

UAE launches safety driveHealth officials are providing free vaccination to pilgrims before their travel. (Image source: Al Jazeera English/Flickr)The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention ( MOHP), in collaboration with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), have launched a health and safety awareness campaign for Haj pilgrims

Over 5,000 Haj pilgrims are expected to travel to Saudi Arabia this season from the UAE. The authorities are joining forces to ensure health safety of the pilgrims.

Health officials have advised that all pilgrims must take the mandatory vaccine before travel. Meningococcal vaccine is mandatory while others such as pneumococcal and influenza vaccines are recommended for the travel.

HAAD officials stated that the vaccines will be administered free of charge to all Haj pilgrims in Abu Dhabi, while those with Ministry of Health and Prevention health cards too will be provided vaccination free of charge. In Dubai, the DHA officials said certain insurances cover these vaccinations while others will have to pay. The mandatory meningococcal vaccine is priced at US$68. The officials have advised that the vaccines be taken a minimum of two weeks before travel.

Measures have also been taken to prove healthcare for pilgrim at the Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports. In the Dubai airport, pilgrims are provided a welcome area where they are given gift bags and dedicated check in and immigration counters. Free basic health checks were also provided on the spot.

In Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), the Ministry of Health and Prevention are to provide pilgrims with personal Haj kits and safety booklets, and a fully equipped Haj clinic has been established in Terminal 1 to tackle any emergency diagnosis or treatment of pilgrims, should the need arise.

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