Saudi Arabia advises Umrah pilgrims to take Covid-19 vaccine

Monitoring Desk

RIYADH: Those who wish to perform the Umrah pilgrimage are advised to take the Covid-19 vaccine shot, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh Benten has said.

Speaking to the Al-Arabiya channel, Benten said that all the precautionary measures and preventive protocols are being followed to stem the spread of the Covid-19 infection and that is in coordination with the Ministry of Health. Directives such as social distancing, using sanitiser, wearing masks, and following the age limit for the performance of the Umrah rituals will be applied. The Umrah pilgrimage is “safe”, he added.

The remarks came in the wake of the minister receiving the coronavirus vaccine dose in Jeddah. “Anyone who registers to receive coronavirus vaccine through the Sehhaty application and wants to perform Umrah, must take the vaccine,” he said.

Saudi Arabia’s health authority approved the registration of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the kingdom last month, following which the country’s health minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah received a shot. Saudi Arabia announced 104 new Covid-19 infections, 146 recoveries and nine deaths on January 5.

The case count across the kingdom has now risen to 363,259, including 354,755 recoveries and 6,265 fatalities. Vaccine jabs in 48 hours after registration People registering for receiving a vaccine against COVID-19 will be alerted about the jab appointments within 48 hours, the Saudi Health Ministry has said.

The applicants via a smartphone app are messaged about the vaccination appointments, it added. Registration for the vaccine against the COVID-19 is available for Saudis and expatriates in the kingdom through the smart app “Sehhaty” by visiting

There has been a high turnout for inoculation at the vaccination centres set up in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province, according to the Saudi Health Ministry.

The vaccination in the kingdom started with a 550-clinic centre in Riyadh, followed by another comprising 84 clinics at the King Abdulaziz airport in Jeddah. A third 84-clinic centre has also been set up in the eastern city of Dhahran.

The health ministry has said that similar facilities will be soon launched in other parts of the kingdom. Saudi authorities have said the vaccine is provided for free for citizens and foreign residents.

Vaccination priority is given to those aged over 65, people at a high risk of infection due to their jobs, and those suffering from obesity, chronic diseases or immunity deficiency.