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Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is encouraging families who plan to travel during the summer and the Eid break to ensure they take necessary travel vaccinations at least one month prior to their journey to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccines.

DHA has two full-fledged Travellers’ Clinics — a hub for pre-travel medical services such as vaccinations, risk assessment and travel advice — at the Nad Al Hammar and Al Barsha primary healthcare centres.  

“Since vaccination requirements vary by country and often require second doses, it’s important to visit a travellers’ clinic at least six weeks prior to travel,” said Dr Fathiya Sarkal, Deputy Director of DHA Travellers’ Clinics. 

“Often travellers need more than one vaccine, so planning is recommended,” she said. “We still see families who come to us a week or a few days prior to travel. “We inform them that we cannot be sure of the effectiveness of the vaccine unless it is administered at least a month to minimum two weeks prior to the date of travel and we recommend that they postpone their travel. 

“So to avoid all such hassles our advice to travellers is to understand the importance of pre-travel vaccines and medical advice and incorporate this when they plan to travel.“Travel vaccines depend on the place of travel. For example, yellow fever presents the greatest health risk for visitors to South America and Central Africa. 

“When patients visit us, we discuss the places they intend to travel, length of stay, their health, current prescriptions and vaccine history. After a detailed consultation we recommend vaccines as well as educate them about other travel precautions based on their destination.

“There are mandatory vaccines such as yellow fever vaccine for African and South American countries and meningococcal vaccine for pilgrims. The clinic follows international protocol during outbreaks, so certain vaccines become mandatory during these periods.” 

She offered some basic precautions to take while traveling: Have a first-aid kit on hand at all times and carry routine medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and antihistamines.

Travellers should be aware of the diseases particular to a place and use common sense while eating foods, especially in places where there is a prevalence of water-borne diseases. She also advised purchasing travel insurance to help cover the costs of health emergencies.

Dr Sarkal said that year-on-year there has been an increase in the number of travellers for both business and leisure and that the clinics provide vaccines to residents and visitors.

DHA’s Travellers’ Clinics follow the protocol developed by the US-based Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the health requirements for travel and are certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as yellow fever immunisation providers in Dubai. 

As per global health regulations, only government centres are authorised to issue the international certificate of vaccination. In Dubai, Al Baraha Hospital, which is one of the hospitals under the UAE Ministry of Health, and the Travellers’ Clinics under the DHA Primary Healthcare Sector are the authorised entities to provide these certificates. 

To contact the branches, call 04 502 3701 at Nad Al Hammar and 04 502 3301 at Al Barsha