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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Dubai's Hajj and Umrah pilgrims can now get vaccinated while they shop

Ministry of Health has two new locations for innoculations 

Vaccinations will now be available in Dubai malls. Jaime Puebla / The National
Vaccinations will now be available in Dubai malls. Jaime Puebla / The National

The Ministry of Health has urged residents to visit travellers’ clinics ahead of the summer pilgrimage and holiday season for the vaccinations and medication required for visits to various countries.

Doctors have also warned Umrah and Haj pilgrims to inoculate themselves four to six weeks before their journey.

Vaccinations for Umrah and Haj will be available for UAE citizens and residents at two new locations from Sunday – Dubai’s Ibn Batuta Mall and Dragon Mart 2 at the ministry’s medical examination centres. They are also available at Muhaisnah and Al Ittihad preventive medicine centres and in Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Um Al Quwain and Fujairah.

“We have decided to start providing vaccinations for Umrah and Haj pilgrims in our centres in the malls and they can get the injection while shopping. We are trying to reach as many people as possible. We want people to have a safe pilgrimage without any danger of the elderly picking up pneumonia or influenza,” said Dr Fatma Al Attar, director of the international health regulations office and consultant family physician with the Ministry of Health.

“I have worked as a Haj physician so I have seen people with cases of pneumonia and influenza. The cost of taking the vaccines is less than the cost of admission to hospital. We recommend they take the vaccines well before travel so there is sufficient time for it to take effect and it will boost their immunity as well. This will help them have a safe Haj instead of falling ill when they are travelling or after they return.”

Since travellers plan Umrah pilgrimages during Ramadan, the Ministry is spreading the word about prevention. The meningococcal vaccine to guard against meningitis is mandatory and the vaccine to prevent influenza is recommended to reduce the risk of flu.

The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for those aged 65 and above, patients with diabetes, heart ailments, asthma, liver, kidney diseases and with weakened immune systems.

International travel vaccinations are free for UAE citizens and at an affordable price for expatriates, she said.

For residents planning summer vacations, malaria tablets recommended for travellers heading to Asia and Africa are free for all UAE residents at the ministry’s preventive medicine centres.

“We have studied the prices in the market and vaccinations available at our departments are lower than what is available at other government or private clinics,” Dr Al Attar said.

“People plan in detail where they will stay, how they will travel, the price of packages but they do not think of the medical and health implications when they travel.”

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While most travellers are aware the yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for several countries in Africa, they are unaware of injections required to prevent infectious diseases in other parts of the world.

“They can consult with family physicians at the travellers’ clinics for a full assessment of what they need before they travel. For example, in India, while there is no special requirement, typhoid vaccines are recommended if people stay in smaller towns where there could be exposure to unsafe food and water,” Dr Al Attar said.

“Anti-malaria medicines will be recommended for Tanzania. When they return, if they suffer from fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain they can visit the same clinic and blood tests and medication will be prescribed.”

Mandatory vaccinations are also provided by the centres operated by Dubai Health Authority and by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi.

Further information about the Ministry's medical centres is available on the Ministry of Health and Prevention's website.

For more information contact Customer Care Services 80011111

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