GUWAHATI: Haj pilgrims from the northeast have been asked to inoculate themselves with both doses of Covid-19 vaccine before they land in Saudi Arabia.
A government statement issued on Wednesday by the executive officer and secretary of the joint state Haj committee as the signatory, advised all the provisionally selected pilgrims from Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim for Haj 2021 to be vaccinated with both doses at the earliest. The Haj committee office, however, clarified that no official communication regarding Haj-2021 has been received from the Saudi government yet and all processes of Haj-2021 will be subject to approval of Saudi authorities.
“In case of Indian pilgrims perform Haj-2021, outgoing flights will start from Mid-June, accordingly those who have applied for Haj -2021 are advised to take the first dose of vaccine now on their own, so that at the time of departure the second dose is also given to them,” the government statement stated.
“The idea is to keep the pilgrims ready and there should not be any constraint for anyone since they have not been vaccinated,” it added, further informing that according to the health minister of Saudi Arabia and mail from Consulate General of India, Jeddah, pilgrims visiting the Kingdom need to get two doses of Vaccine before departure to Saudi Arabia.
Nearly 5,000 Muslims from the six northeastern states visited Saudi Arabia for Haj, but, if the pilgrimage is called off due to Covid this year, too, it will come as a big disappointment.
“Even if their government gives clearance for Haj-2021, the expenditure is likely to go up, as only a limited number of pilgrims may be allowed to fly. But if the Haj pilgrimage is again called off it will be a big disappointment because the preparations for Haj is done a long time before the journey begins,” said advocate Nekibur Zaman, who has been associated with Haj pilgrims reception committee.