JEDDAH: Visitors to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan will need to be vaccinated against polio at least 12 months before their arrival under a new Health Ministry edict.
According to the details, the same notification is issued for the visitors to Saudi Arabia from Afghanistan.
Vaccination has been made mandatory because of the prevalence of the polio virus in both countries, the ministry.
Saudi health authorities are taking strict measures to prevent the virus spreading in the Kingdom, with health monitoring centers ensuring visitors have been inoculated against the disease at least a year before arrival.
The centers will also give all pilgrims booster doses of the polio vaccine depending on their country of origin.
Wild polio virus mainly affects children under five. One in 200 cases develops into irreversible paralysis while 5-10 percent die from respiratory failure.
Global efforts have expanded the capacity of most countries to tackle infectious diseases by building effective surveillance and immunization systems.
Earlier, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had decided to continue its support to eradicate polio from Pakistan, with $1.08 billion will be provided as a fund.
Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza met with Bill Gates in Abu Dhabi and discussed polio eradication program.
During the meeting, the special assistant informed Bill Gates about efforts towards polio eradication and vaccinations.
Bill Gates said that his foundation will continue their support to make Pakistan polio free.