In conjunction with the holiday & travel season, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) continues its campaigns to raise travelers’ awareness about the importance of visiting the health clinics to evaluate their medical conditions and take the necessary vaccines. This measure would help avoid the risks of getting infected with possible diseases in the destination country.
On occurrence of an outbreak in one country, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in coordination with MOHAP, informs travellers to this destination about the necessary measures that should be taken for prevention. For more information, the travelers are advised to contact the UAE embassies in their destination countries.
Upon the issuance of a report or a statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the occurrence of an epidemic of infectious disease in a country or a territory, MOHAP addresses the necessary preventive recommendations to protect travellers to these destinations in accordance with WHO’s guidelines. This precautionary measure would help ensure that travelers are not being threatened by any health hazards and also prevent the transmission of these diseases to the UAE through the passengers coming from these endemic countries.
Hereinafter a list of important vaccinations recommended by MOHAP to obtain before traveling:
- Yellow fever: Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory. Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The disease is endemic in around 44 countries in tropical regions of Africa and the Americas. The symptoms of yellow fever vary from mild to severe infection that causes bleeding, jaundice and death. Immunization is the most important preventive measure against yellow fever. The vaccine used for this purpose is safe, cost-effective and gives lifelong immunity.
- Meningococcal meningitis: It leads to death due to a serious infection of the meninges (the brain membranes). This vaccine is recommended to the travelers to the countries in the meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa and it is mandatory for pilgrims during Haj or Umrah. This vaccine protects the body for 5 years.
- Hepatitis A: This vaccination is one of the most common preventive vaccines in addition to the list of recommended vaccinations. The vaccine is recommended for travellers to developing countries. Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food and drink. Its symptoms include fever, stomach ache and fatigue. The vaccine is given in two doses, which provide protection for at least 20 years.
- Rabies: The traveler receives 3 doses of the vaccine over a period of 3 to 4 weeks to prevent rabies before exposure to the disease. People at risk include those who are dealing with animals, veterinarians, and people traveling to countries where rabies is endemic. Rabies vaccine gives immunity for two years.
- Flu: Influenza mainly affects the respiratory system, especially the nose and pharynx. Its symptoms are varied from mild to severe. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the common viruses that cause the disease. The flu vaccine is updated annually to protect against the common viruses that cause the disease in the current year.
- Pneumococcal disease: It’s a group of diseases caused by bacteria named pneumococci. Pneumonia affects both young and old, causing septicemia, meningitis, pneumonia and acute otitis media. It leads to about 1.6 million deaths a year worldwide. The vaccine is a successful preventive measure among adults, especially those over the age of 50. Diabetics, cardiovascular patients, patients with chronic lung diseases and smokers should be vaccinated against pneumonia, as vaccination is the best means of prevention.