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NAHCON asks states to begin vaccination of intending pilgrims

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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON has asked the 36 states’ and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Muslim pilgrims boards and agencies to begin vaccination against the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) for all intending pilgrims for the 2021 hajj exercise.

The directive was contained in a circular dated March 26, 2021, entitled ‘Need For Urgent COVID-19 Vaccination for the Intending 2021 Pilgrims’ signed by the Commissioner in charge of Planning, Research, Statistics Information and Library Science, Sheikh Suleiman Imonikhe.

According to the commission, the directive follows the receipt of a letter from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on the need to vaccinate all intending pilgrims.

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Saudi health ministry had described having a COVID-19 vaccine as a must to participate in this year’s hajj.

NAHCON, however, said it would not force COVID-19 vaccination on intending pilgrims, adding that any prospective pilgrim that refused to take the vaccine would be asked re-apply when the Saudi government changes its decision.

It was learnt that some states and the FCT had commenced the vaccination of intending pilgrims.

The circular noted that NPHCDA suggested the vaccination “to meet up with the average of 12 weeks’ interval required for two rounds of the vaccination before hajj.”

NAHCON also said all intending pilgrims should be told to register online for the vaccine through the NPHCDA-designated website.

It added that for those who could not complete the registration, “the facility for registration would be made available for them at the point of vaccination at designated centres.”

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