COVID-19: Pilgrims warned over 2nd dose default

Cairo: Pilgrims selected for performing this year’s Hajj risks reservation cancellations if they fail to get the mandatory second dose of vaccination against COVID-19, a Saudi official has warned.

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“The pilgrims holding Hajj permits must get the second dose of the vaccine in the next 48 hours,” Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Abdulfattah Al Mashat said.

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He urged pilgrims to head to the nearest inoculation centre to receive the second dose of vaccination against COVID-19 without an advance appointment. “The pilgrim who does not get the second dose will have his Hajj permit cancelled automatically,” he added.

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Last month, Saudi Arabia said that due to the continuation of COVID-19 and its variants, performing this year’s Haj will be confined to 60,000 pilgrims from Saudis and Muslim foreign residents in the kingdom.

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Eligible pilgrims must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, free of chronic diseases and aged between 18 to 65 years. Around 60,000 Saudi and foreign Muslims representing 150 countries have been picked to perform the Hajj that is due to begin this year on next Sunday amid stringent health measures.

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They were selected from among a total of 558,270 Muslims who had applied online for attending the Hajj, according to Al Mashat.

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Priority was given to those who had not previously performed Hajj, he said.

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Last year’s Hajj was performed by a limited number of Saudis and foreign Muslims residing in Saudi Arabia to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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