'No Vaccine, No Haj' Starting This Year
Jeddah: The Ministry of Health has embarked on its new campaign titled,"No vaccine, no Haj," aimed at eradicating all infectious diseases that spread with the end of the Haj season.
The ministry is implementing this campaign for the first time, and has put in place a condition that all those wishing to perform Haj rituals this season should receive the seasonal flu vaccine, in addition to other preventive treatments against polio and meningitis for pilgrims coming from countries affected by these diseases.
Abdullah Asiri, the undersecretary for preventive health, confirmed the ministry's readiness to implement the campaign, starting with the distribution of awareness materials at various health sectors and large shopping centers, in addition to broadcasting awareness messages on ATM monitors, and via SMSs, to raise awareness and increase the coverage of targeted groups, a local publication reported.
He said the vaccines include the seasonal flu, meningitis and polio for pilgrims coming from the affected countries.
He confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines and their positive impacts, and their role in boosting the capabilities of the immune system, explaining that they do not cause any long-term negative impacts.
He added: "Vaccines have not registered any harmful or dangerous effects on recipients, but sometimes they cause mild associated symptoms, such as a slight rise in body temperature, soreness, or simple swelling at the injection site, which vanishes within few days."
He emphasized that the ministry is prepared to deal with the current Haj season.
"Just like every year, we start preparing for the next Haj season immediately after the end of the previous one. All the ministry's agencies and departments are mobilized for the planning and implementation of programs according to their specialty," he added.
In regards to the control of epidemics and infectious diseases, the assistant undersecretary for preventive health said the ministry is working on several axes, including updating the health requirements for all pilgrims coming to perform Haj and Umrah, or for any other purpose, in accordance with the epidemiological developments and the targeted diseases.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its embassies around the world, addresses the health directorates to take preventive measures for the coming pilgrimage.
This is in addition to the in-place public health programs, which include operations in the central control room, the work of epidemiological survey teams at all health facilities, as well as the work of field teams that cover pilgrims, the medical missions' teams, the emergency management teams, food and drinking water safety teams, and other related departments and teams.