Saudi Arabia's authorities have required all those who will take part in the organization of Hajj — an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca — to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Jeddah-based Al-Okaz newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing the kingdom's health ministry.
This year, Hajj is set to take place in July after the last time only those living in Saudi Arabia were able to participate in the pilgrimage due to the ongoing health crisis.
"Everyone, who will work as volunteers and arrange the pilgrimage on the spot, must be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Employees, who will help pilgrims in Mecca, Medina and other places, must be protected from the infection," the ministry said.
At the same time, the authorities have not mentioned the need of being vaccinated for pilgrims themselves.
Saudi Arabia plans to vaccinate around 70 percent of its population by the end of 2021, with 885,000 people already being inoculated free of charge at 259 centres across the country. Along with that, pregnant women, children, allergy sufferers and individuals with lung diseases, are not required to get a vaccine shot.