Abu Dhabi: In spite of the H1N1 vaccine being mandatory for Haj pilgrims before travelling to Makkah, few have shown up to receive the vaccination, which is now available across primary health care centres, Gulf News has learnt.

According to a senior official from the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, pilgrims who have not been vaccinated will be required to be inoculated in the airport before travelling to Saudi Arabia.

Failure to do so will result in inability to travel, since according to Saudi Arabian regulations, a certificate proving that the pilgrim have been successfully vaccinated for both H1N1 and meningitis, must be submitted.

Pilgrims must be able to present a yellow International Certificate of Vaccination in order to make the pilgrimage.

In spite of the current H1N1 scare, a total of 6,228 UAE residents will go on a pilgrimage out of which 5,228 are Emiratis. The pilgrims are due to travel to Makkah within the next two weeks.

The number of UAE pilgrims travelling to the holy land is similar if not more than last year's numbers, a source from the UAE Haj delegation said.

The same source said the H1N1 scare failed to stop pilgrims from performing their religious duties.

Although anti-swine flu vaccine takes from 10 to 14 days to become effective, there are no specific deadlines for inoculations.

Pilgrims can be vaccinated free of charge at four primary health care centres in Dubai and 30 facilities across the UAE.

Making it to Makkah

  • 6,228: number of pilgrims from the UAE
  • 5,228: number of Emiratis performing the Haj
  • 34: health care facilities offering H1N1 shots
  • 6,228: UAE pilgrims
  • 5,228: Emirati pilgrims
  • 34: healthcare centres for H1N1 vaccines

Vaccination campaign starts today

The Haj Vaccination Campaign will begin today across the capital, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company has announced. It will be offered at 11 health care centres including the Ambulatory Healthcare Services and Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) facilities. Vaccination has been initiated in eight AHS centres and three SKMC family medicine centres. These include: DPSC Abu Dhabi, Bain Al Jesraen, Khalifa (A), Al Samha health care centres, and Al Mushrif, Al Baten and Al Khaleej family medicine centres, all in Abu Dhabi and DPSC Al Ain, Al Muwaiji, Al Mezyed and Al Maqam health care centres.