Among many regulations around the Islamic pilgrimages in Saudi Arabia, one is presenting key vaccination certificates. Certain vaccinations for a Saudi Arabia visa are mandatory for Hajj and Umrah aspirants. This is a preventative measure by the country’s government to avoid the spread of communicable diseases. If planning a pilgrimage, one must know all about the mandatory vaccinations for Saudi Arabia – Umrah pilgrims.
Why do you need vaccinations for Umrah?
Every year, thousands of people undertake the journey of Hajj and Umrah that involves standing in close proximity. People from various countries with different lifestyles and medical histories arrive in Saudi Arabia annually. Such mass gathering can result in a wide spread of diseases due to which the government asks pilgrims to get vaccinated for typhoid, Tdap, polio, mumps and rubella, influenza, shingles, etc. These diseases could prove to be fatal for people over the age of 50, who have comorbid illnesses, and children, who have a weak immune system.
Vaccinations for Umrah, Saudi Arabia
Umrah requires pilgrims to take two kinds of vaccinations:
- Polysaccharide vaccine – A person must get a single dose of this vaccine in no less than 10 days or more than 3 years before arriving in the country.
- Conjugate vaccine – This vaccine has a single dose that is given no less than 10 days or 8 years prior to arriving in the sacred land of Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, if the traveller is from a country that is not the United Kingdom, the following vaccination certificates are a must:
- Poliomyelitis – Pilgrim has to present a receipt of an oral dose of polio taken within 12 months or at least a few weeks before applying for the visa.
- Yellow Fever – The World Health Organisation has identified some countries with yellow fever disease. A pilgrim travelling from such a place must present proof of vaccination.
- If the pilgrim belongs to the United Kingdom:
- Polio Dose – Pilgrims must have completed five polio doses. If the polio vaccination was 10 years ago then there is a requirement for a booster dose.
- Tetanus Shots – Tetanus shots are also mandatory for Umrah pilgrims.
- Measles and Rubella vaccine – It ensures that the person has high immunity against these diseases. In another case, one can also present proof of prior infection, ensuring that the body has immunity built against it.
- Seasonal Influenza – This is a requirement for people who are susceptible to contracting the infection. It includes children below five years of age, the elderly, pregnant women and people with heart and respiratory problems.
These requirements were brought into force considering the temperature and weather possibilities of several countries. For some, the climate of Saudi Arabia could be familiar, while for many, it could be a drastic change that can lead to common infections, which can spread among several people. Hence it is important to add the advised and approved vaccinations in Saudi Arabia travel plans.
Vaccinations Recommended for Umrah Pilgrims (Not Mandatory)
Considering that large gatherings are a risky situation for those who are prone to allergies, there are some more vaccinations that are recommended for Umrah pilgrims. They are not mandatory like the aforementioned vaccines but are recommended by WHO and are routine vaccinations for travelling to Saudi Arabia. Either way, they are helpful in ensuring that one stays safe from easily communicable diseases. Hence pilgrims are recommended to consult a doctor and must check their eligibility for vaccinations against the following diseases:
- Shingles: The disease spreads through the direct contact of humans with one another. One shot of this lasts for at least four years or even more in some people and prevents the spread of the disease. One can take this shot even when down with the disease.
- Meningitis: Caused by bacteria or fungi, the disease spreads through air and direct contact. It puts children and people with other ailments at high risk of catching it.
- Typhoid: The disease spreads through food and water. Therefore, people are highly recommended to get either a shot or an oral dose of the vaccine. It helps with the prevention of disease for the long-term.
- Pneumonia: Similar to influenza, pneumonia is also airborne and can affect several people at large during Umrah. It has two shots that people and children with compromised immune systems must take. It is also advised for elders above 65 years of age.
- Chickenpox: It spreads through air and direct contact. Therefore, those who have never had it and have never been vaccinated, must take a shot.
Suggested Precautions for Umrah Pilgrims
Performing Umrah requires pilgrims to be fit and healthy as it involves a lot of walking. It is important to stay safe from common cold, flu and other infections in order to complete the pilgrimage successfully. Hence, here are a few precautionary measures that every pilgrim must take when travelling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah,
- Maintain personal hygiene to prevent catching diseases.
- Use disposable wipes or napkins when sneezing and coughing. Dump them in a dustbin to ensure that a healthy person does not come in contact with them.
- Disinfect hands frequently or wash them several times a day with soap water.
- Avoid direct contact with the mouth, eyes and nose with another person.
- Wear masks in a large gathering. It helps to avoid airborne transmission.
- Try to avoid contact with an infected or ill person.
The government of Saudi Arabia ensures availability of preventable vaccines and has protocols in place to control the spread of a disease during an outbreak. By following these precautionary tips, pilgrims are requested to do their bit to make it a healthy and happy journey for fellow pilgrims.
Vaccinations For Saudi Arabia – Umrah Pilgrims FAQs
Why is vaccination required when travelling to Saudi Arabia?
The government asks pilgrims to get vaccinated for typhoid, Tdap, polio, mumps and rubella, influenza, shingles, etc. These diseases could prove to be fatal for people over the age of 50 who have comorbid illnesses and younger kids who have a weak immune system.
What kind of vaccinations does Umrah require?
Polysaccharide vaccine– A person must get a single dose of this vaccine in no less than 10 days or more than 3 years before arriving in the country. Conjugate vaccine – This vaccine has a single dose that is given no less than 10 days or 8 years prior to arriving in the sacred land of Saudi Arabia.
What kind of vaccine is required when the person is not from the United Kingdom?
Poliomyelitis – Pilgrim has to present a receipt of an oral dose of polio taken within 12 months or at least a few weeks before applying for the visa. Yellow Fever – The World Health Organisation has identified some countries with yellow fever disease. A pilgrim travelling from such a place must present proof of vaccination.
How many shots of polio do the pilgrims require?
Pilgrims must have completed five polio doses. If the polio vaccination was 10 years ago, then there is a requirement for a booster dose.