The Makkah Clock Royal Tower. The Ministry of Haj has set the end of Shaaban (August 9) as the last date to issue Umrah visas for the current season. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Haj pilgrims across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi are required to receive vaccinations against H1N1 and Meningitis two weeks prior to travelling, as per an announcement by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (Haad).

Effective from Monday, the free of charge mandated vaccinations will be available in various primary health care centres across Abu Dhabi.

Educational material about the control of communicable diseases, health care requirements and recommendations will also be distributed to Haj pilgrims, who are expected to travel to travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) during Eid Al Adha, from November 14 to 17.

Haj pilgrims are expected to be given two vaccinations this year — one for the seasonal flu, which provides protection against the H1N1 virus, and the Meningococcal vaccine which provides protection against Meningitis.

"All pilgrims must show proof of the vaccination for seasonal flu and Meningococcal vaccination on a valid certificate of vaccination [International Certificate of Vaccination or an authorised vaccination card] before entering the KSA to perform Al Haj," said Dr Farida Al Hosani, acting section head of communicable diseases at Haad.

She added: "Each year millions of people travel to the KSA to perform Haj. Because of the sheer number of pilgrims, and their close proximity to each other in crowded sites, diseases — particularly the bacteria which cause meningitis — can spread quickly between the pilgrims."

Despite H1N1 and meningitis jabs made compulsory for those going to Makkah, Gulf News reported last November, that an expected 6,228 UAE Haj pilgrims would be vaccinated, out of which 5,228 are Emiratis.

However, few turned up for the vaccination.

Vaccinations: Where to go

Haj vaccination is available free of charge in a large number of clinics throughout the emirate.

Abu Dhabi and middle region

- Disease Prevention and Screening Center - Abu Dhabi

-  Khalifa A clinic

-  Bateen clinic

-  Manhal clinic

- Zafrana clinic

- Baniyas clinic

-  Al Rahba Hospital

Eastern Region

-  Disease Prevention and Screening Center - Al Ain

- Al Muwaiji clinic

- Maqam clinic

- Al Quo clinic

- Al Khazna clinic

- Al Hayer clinic,

- MCFM (Oud Al Toba) clinic

Western Region

- Al Dhafra Family Medicine center

-  Dalma Hospital

- Selaa Hospital

- Marfaa Hospital

-  Ghiathi Hospital

- Liwa Hospital

- Rowias Hospital