Indonesia Still Requires Meningitis Vaccine for Umrah Pilgrims

30 September 2022 15:00 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia still requires meningitis vaccines for future Umrah pilgrims. This information was confirmed by Health Ministry’s spokesman Mohammad Syahril in response to the Religious Affairs Ministry's director general of hajj and umrah Hilman Latief's statement that Saudi Arabia had revoked the requirement.

"The Health Ministry is still adhering to the existing guidelines. We are waiting for further information," said Syahril to Tempo on Friday, September 30, 2022.

The vaccine polemic arose after a number of pilgrims from Surabaya's Juanda Airport failed to leave for the Holy Land on September 26, 2022, because of low vaccine stocks.

The Health Ministry then held a meeting with the Religious Affairs Ministry on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, and decided to re-stock the vaccine in early October 2022. "Inshallah, the meningitis vaccine will arrive in early October to meet the needs of pilgrims," said Syahril.

As previously reported, Hilman highlighted the high interest of the Indonesian people to perform the umrah pilgrimage in Mecca. In the last two months, more than 200,000 pilgrims have departed to Saudi Arabia.

However, the umrah organizing agency is faced with a shortage of meningitis vaccines, which is required for traveling abroad. Hilman claimed that he was informed that the vaccine is no longer mandatory but just a recommendation.

No official statement regarding this meningitis vaccine status has been issued by the Saudi government to date.

"The Religious Affairs Ministry through its representatives will coordinate with the Saudi Arabia authorities to obtain clarity on the meningitis vaccine policy there," said Hilman.

M JULNIS FIRMANSYAH

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