The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has mandated pilgrims to be vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of 2021 Hajj, Okaz newspaper reported.
The Kingdom via its Health Minister, Tawfiq al-Rabiah, made the disclosure in a circular issued on Monday.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory for those willing to come to the Hajj and will be one of the main conditions (for receiving a permit to come),” the minister stated.
Hajj is a pilgrimage programme that welcomes millions of Muslims across the globe who usually visit Kaaba, “House of God” in the sacred city of Mecca, in Saudi Kingdom.
The programme also serves as an additional source of revenue for the oil-rich Middle-East country.
In 2019, the pilgrimage programme recorded over two million visitors across the globe. The pilgrimage, however, suffered a huge setback in 2020 due to the out-break of COVID-19 as the annual spiritual rituals were limited to just 10,000 people.
The dreaded virus has killed over two million people globally and recorded over 115 million confirmed cases since its outbreak in Wuhan, China in 2019.
Multiple big pharmaceutical companies have manufactured vaccines against the dreadful virus, as distribution and inoculations are ongoing across the globe.