Holiday alert: Dubai residents urged to plan vaccinations 2 weeks in advance

Dr Hend Ahmed Alawadhi, specialist public health medicine, Nad Al Hamar health centre. (Supplied)

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is encouraging families who plan to travel during the summer to ensure they take necessary pre-travel vaccinations at least two weeks prior to their journey to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccines.

The DHA has two full-fledged Travellers Clinics inside the Nad Al Hammar and Al Barsha primary healthcare centres, which are a hub for pre-travel medical services such as vaccinations, risk assessment and travel advice.

“While there has been an increase in awareness about pre-travel vaccines, we still see families who come to us a week or a few days prior to travel. We categorically inform them that we cannot be sure of the effectiveness of the vaccine unless it is administered at least a month to minimum two weeks prior to the date of travel and we recommend that they postpone their travel dates. Therefore, to avoid all such hassles, our advise to travellers is to understand the importance of pre-travel vaccines and medical advice and incorporate this when they plan to travel,” said Dr Fathiya Sarkal, deputy director of  DHA traveller’s clinics.

“We provide a full range of services for travellers and are constantly update based on the information provided by the World Health Organization and Centre for Disease Control. We notify passengers about health problems they may face while traveling to their destination and provide them with the counselling services which include administering required vaccinations, providing preventive medicines as well as issuing international certification that states the necessary vaccine has been provided.”

Dr Sarkal said that year-on-year there has been an increase in the number of travellers for both business and leisure and that the clinics provide vaccines to residents and visitors.

 The clinics follow the protocol by the US-based Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the health requirements for travel and are certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as yellow fever immunisation providers in Dubai.

The pre-travel advice takes into account the destination, length of stay, medical and vaccine history, current medical state, and mandatory and recommended vaccines for the destination.

On the significance of the services, Dr Hend Ahmed Alawadhi, specialist public health medicine, Nad Al Hamar health centre  explained that residents need to take precautionary measures prior to travel. “There are mandatory vaccines such as yellow fever vaccine for African and South American countries and meningococcal vaccine for pilgrims. The Clinic follows international protocol during outbreaks so certain vaccines become mandatory during these periods.”

Alawadhi said that health risk assessment takes into account vaccines that travellers need according to their current state of health.

As per the global health regulation rules, only government centres are authorised to issue the international vaccine certification.

In Dubai, the Al Baraha Hospital, which is one of the hospitals under the UAE Ministry of Health and the Traveller’s Clinics under the DHA Primary Healthcare Sector are the authorized entities, to provide these certificates.

To contact the branches, call 04-5023701 in Nad Al Hammar and 04-5023301 in Al Barsha.