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Hajj and Umrah vaccine

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Question

When I applied for Hajj last year, my travel agent told me to take a vaccine. He said it is necessary to take the visa. I did not have any illness at that time. My question is, why should I inject a medicine to perform an Ibadah when I did not have any illness?



Answer

Vaccines are given to prevent some illnesses. There are different types of vaccines against different illnesses. Most of those illnesses covered by vaccines are deadly or can lead to permanent disability if contracted. Therefore, taking precautionary measures to prevent a potentially dangerous disease is a wise option.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It attracts around 3 million Muslim worshippers every year. Probably it is the largest pilgrimage in the world. This type of international mass gatherings can act as a breeding ground for some infections and they can spread quite fast. Some of these infections are fatal especially for those who are not already immunised against them. This is the reason the government of Saudi Arabia has made it mandatory to get vaccinated against certain illnesses before travelling for pilgrimage.

Adults and children aged over 2 years travelling for Umrah, Hajj or for seasonal work in Hajj zones, are required to submit a valid vaccination certificate against meningococcus when they are applying for visa. This is applicable for travellers from any country. The vaccine should have been administered at least 10 days prior to the planned arrival in Saudi Arabia. After administering a vaccine, the body needs time to develop the required immunity. It can take few days or few weeks. Meningococcal vaccination certificate is valid for 3 years.

Submission of a false vaccination certificate goes against the basic values of Islam. Because deceiving is considered to be a sin in Islam. Further, not getting vaccinated and putting oneself and a large number of other pilgrims at risk may nullify the sacred purpose of Hajj.

In addition to foreign travellers, domestic pilgrims and residents of Makkah and Madinah are also required to get vaccinated against meningococcus. Travellers from certain countries are required to take certain other vaccines such as Yellow Fever vaccine and Poliomyelitis vaccine as well.

Authors: Arshath, Suhail

References

  1. Hajj and Umrah Health Regulations. 2019. Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Accessed September 17, 2019. https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/Hajj/HealthGuidelines/HealthGuidelinesDuringHajj/Pages/HealthRequirements.aspx.
  2. Parker, Salim, and Joanna Gaines. n.d. Saudi Arabia: Hajj/Umrah Pilgrimage. Accessed September 17, 2019. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2020/popular-itineraries/saudi-arabia-hajjumrah-pilgrimage.

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