Saudi Arabia Says Muslims Who Want to Perform Hajj Pilgrimage Must be Vaccinated Against Coronavirus

Muslims pray at the Grand Mosque during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in their holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 8, 2019. REUTERS/Waleed Ali

Health officials in Saudi Arabia will require a coronavirus vaccine for worshippers who want to participate in the annual hajj, according to multiple reports citing local media.

The move was first reported by Saudi newspaper Okaz, quoting a decree from Saudi Minister of Health Tawfiq al-Rabiah. The health official called for long-term measures to organize health facilities in the holy Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina, in addition to the creation of vaccine committees for attendees.

About 3 million Muslims usually make the trip to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj, a religious pilgrimage, each year. Participants circle around Mecca’s Grand Mosque, which Muslims pray toward five times a day.

It was not immediately clear who the Saudi health minister’s announcement was directed towards, according to multiple reports.

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SOURCE: The Hill, Marina Pitofsky

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