“It must be completed in March. We hope that our hajj pilgrims would be ready ahead of their departure, if (hajj pilgrimage) is conducted this year,” secretary general of the Health Ministry, Oscar Primadi, said while observing a vaccination program for elderly pilgrims at Wibawa Mukti Stadium in Cikarang, Bekasi district, West Java on Friday.
The government is still awaiting confirmation from the Saudi Arabian authorities regarding the hajj pilgrimage in 2021, he informed.
The vaccination of hajj pilgrims, he said, is a preparatory move in case the pilgrimage is allowed this year.
All hajj pilgrims have undergone intensive health checks since last year, including receiving meningitis vaccinations, he added.
"They have been waiting for the hajj pilgrimage since last year, which was then delayed due to the pandemic," he said.
After elderly pilgrims, the COVID-19 vaccination would be provided to other hajj pilgrims registered for this year's batch.
The Health Ministry will wait for information from the Saudi Arabian government on the hajj quota for Indonesia, head of the ministry's Hajj Health Center, Eka Jusuf Singka, said.
"That is the main issue, whether Saudi Arabia will open the hajj pilgrimage. We are still waiting for the information while making preparations, including vaccination," he said, adding that hajj pilgrims should consistently observe health protocols. (INE)
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