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Article

Middle East - travel vaccination advice

Vaccination against various diseases is recommended when travelling to most of the countries in the Middle East. The vaccines depend on the destination, type of accommodation, sanitary conditions, length of stay and general health of the traveller.

Vaccination against various diseases is recommended when travelling to most of the countries in the Middle East. The vaccines depend on the destination, type of accommodation, sanitary conditions, length of stay and general health of the traveller.


Malaria precautions are recommended for some countries in the Middle East. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net. In addition, antimalarial tablets are recommended when travelling to a few countries in the Middle East.  

People who are unsure if they have had the MMR vaccine or whether they have had measles, mumps or rubella are recommended to have the vaccine.

The health authorities in Saudi Arabia require that all pilgrims travelling to the country should have the meningococcal ACWY vaccine. 

International travel is divided into two main groups

Table 1. International travel is divided into two main groups

GROUP I   

Business and tourist travel to cities and tourist resorts, staying in standard tourist-class hotels with good food hygiene and adequate sanitary conditions. 

GROUP II

Long-term foreign travel or residence in areas with poor hygiene and sanitation, and/or close and prolonged contact with locals (such as work, backpacking trips, immigrants on a visit to their former homeland). 

( ): Parentheses around the abbreviation means that the proposed prevention should be considered individually depending on the trip type and local geographic and seasonal variations in disease prevalence. In addition, the traveller's health, age and previous immunisation status should be considered.

Abbreviations for travel vaccines  

  • dTP-IPV: Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and poliomyelitis vaccine
  • IPV: Poliomyelitis vaccine
  • Hep A: Hepatitis A vaccine
  • Hep B: Hepatitis B vaccine
  • MenACWY: Meningococcal vaccine
  • Rab: Rabies vaccine
  • Typh: Typhoid vaccine
  • BCG: Tuberculosis vaccine
  • Influenza : Seasonal influenza vaccine

Recommended vaccines

Table 2. Recommended vaccines
DESTINATION GROUP I     GROUP II
Israel dTP-IPV*

dTP-IPV*
(Hep A)
(Rab)

Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Qatar,
United Arab Emirates 
dTP-IPV*

dTP-IPV*
(Hep A) 
(Hep B)
(Rab)
Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine

dTP-IPV*
Hep A

dTP-IPV*
Hep A 
(Hep B) 
(Typh) 
(Rab) 

Syria

dTP-IPV*
Hep A
Typh

dTP-IPV*
Hep A
Typh
(Hep B) 
(Rab)

Iraq 

dTP-IPV*
Hep A
Typh


dTP-IPV*
Hep A
Typh
(HepB)
(Rab)
(BCG)

Yemen

dTP-IPV* 
IPV ***
Hep A
Tyf

dTP-IPV* 
IPV ***
Hep A 
Tyf
(HepB)
(Rab)
(BCG)       

Saudi-Arabia

dTP-IPV* 
MenACWY**
Influenza**

dTP-IPV*
(Hep A) 
MenACWY**
Influenza**
(Hep B)
(Typh)
(Rab)

* Everybody should be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and poliomyelitis. Adults who have had the basic vaccinations should have a booster dose against these diseases every 10 years.

** Visas for entry to Saudi Arabia require documentation of vaccination of people over 2 years of age. The vaccine must be given minimum 10 days and maximum 3 years for the polysaccharide vaccine, and maximum 5 years for the conjugate vaccine before arrival in Saudi Arabia. It is important that the vaccination certificate states that the vaccine given in Norway is a conjugate vaccine that protects against serogroups A, C, W and Y, plus the name of the vaccine. The influenza vaccine is recommended for pilgrimages.

*** WHO requires that people who have stayed for more than 4 weeks in countries with a high risk of exporting vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 must have received a polio vaccine between 4 weeks and 12 months before leaving the country. This must be documented with an international vaccine certificate. Applies to people of all ages, including children, even if they are considered fully vaccinated according to the Norwegian immunisation programme. Currently valid for Yemen.

Vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 has been detected in Iran. The WHO recommends that people who have stayed in countries for more than 4 weeks at risk of exporting vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 should receive a polio vaccine between 4 weeks and 12 months before leaving the country.

Source for travel vaccination advice given by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health 

History

22.10.2021: Updated advice according to WHO report from August 2021