Dubai: Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is encouraging those who plan to travel to ensure they take necessary pre-travel vaccinations at least one month prior to their journey to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccines.
The pre-travel health services are available across all DHA Primary Healthcare Centres and the services include pre-travel counselling, risk assessment, vaccinations and medications.
Dr Alia Mohammad Al Dallal, consultant family physician and acting director of the Specialised Programme Services Department at DHA’s Primary Health Care Sector, said: “In terms of the COVID-19 vaccine, people who intend to travel should first seek their health-care provider’s advise so that they can assess their medical condition, allergies if any, pre-existing health conditions and accordingly seek advice with regard to the vaccine.”
In addition to this vaccine, there are certain mandatory vaccines if you are travelling to certain countries said Dr Al Hammadi. “There are mandatory vaccines such as yellow fever vaccine for African and South American countries. 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.
She added that there are certain basic precautions travellers need to undertake and there are added precautions now in light of COVID-19.
“Travellers may need to undertake the COVID-19 test prior to travel, depending upon the destination. Therefore, they need to correctly time this test so that it is valid at the time of travel. They should also follow all the necessary precautionary measures such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and frequently hand washing or sanitising their hands.”
In addition, travellers should have first-aid kit on hand at all times and carry routine medications like painkillers and antihistamines.
Dr Fatima Al Marzooqi, Family Medicine physician at the DHA’s Primary Healthcare Sector, said: “Most food and water-borne illnesses arise from contamination during food preparation or from contaminated water sources. Practising safe eating and drinking habits are essential in minimising the risk of contracting food and waterborne diseases while travelling.”
Al Marzooqi said the clinic also provides prophylaxis medication, such as anti-malaria tablets, to travellers if they are travelling to a country where there is a high-prevalence of the disease.
Al Marzooqi added that the DHA PHC’s are recognised as yellow fever immunisation providers in Dubai. According to global health regulation rules, only government centres are authorised to issue the international vaccine certification.