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UAE Doctors Stress Importance of Children’s Vaccinations Before Umrah or Eid Travel

UAE Doctors Stress Importance of Children's Vaccinations Before Umrah or Eid Travel

In the rush of holiday preparations, parents often overlook the critical aspect of ensuring their children are up-to-date on their vaccinations before embarking on trips for Umrah or Eid holidays. According to recent observations by doctors in the UAE, around 20 percent of parents forget their children’s routine vaccinations, putting their health at risk.

The UAE’s Department of Health mandates several childhood vaccines, including BCG, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Haemophilus influenza type B, Pneumococcal, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella, and Polio & Rota virus vaccines. However, many parents remain unaware of the catch-up schedule available for missed vaccines.

Dr. Hussein Nasser Matlik, HoD and Consultant Pediatric Neurology at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi, highlighted that while occasional delays in vaccination may occur, they are generally unacceptable. He stressed the importance of adhering to vaccination schedules, with delays of no more than two to three days in case of no acute illness.

Dr. Sandeep Panikkasseri Dasan, Specialist in Pediatrics at Aster Clinic, Muhaisnah, revealed that during the pandemic, the prevalence of zero-dose vaccination was 14 percent globally and seven percent in the Middle East. He emphasized the need for parents to understand that missed vaccines could be administered later through catch-up schedules.

In addition to routine immunizations, optional vaccines like influenza, typhoid, hepatitis A, and meningococcal are recommended. Dr. Osama Elsayed Rezk Elassy, clinical assistant professor and consultant at Thumbay University Hospital, emphasized the heightened risk of disease exposure during Umrah and Eid travels.

Dr. Elassy highlighted the importance of annual influenza vaccines for all pilgrims before their journey, given the increased risk of disease transmission in crowded environments. He also stressed the significance of the Hepatitis A vaccine, particularly for older children traveling to areas with poor sanitation standards.

Healthcare professionals underscored the importance of administering vaccines four to six weeks before travel to ensure sufficient time for the body to develop immunity. This timeframe allows for maximum vaccine effectiveness and ensures compliance with specific travel requirements, such as entry mandates for certain countries.

In light of these concerns, doctors urged parents to prioritize their children’s vaccinations before embarking on holiday travels. They emphasized the role of reminder systems in ensuring timely vaccinations and reducing missed opportunities, both domestically and abroad.

Ensuring children are adequately vaccinated before travel not only safeguards their health but also contributes to public health efforts in preventing the spread of contagious diseases. As families prepare for Umrah and Eid holidays, prioritizing vaccination becomes paramount in promoting safe and healthy travels for all.

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