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The Ghana Hajj Board has urged Muslims and prospective pilgrims to get the COVID-19 jab in preparation for next year’s pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Chairman of the Hajj Board, Sheikh Ibrahim Cudjoe Quaye, also entreated Muslims to disregard fake news reports suggesting that special vaccines would be provided exclusively for prospective Hajj pilgrims.
“It has come to the attention of the board that certain individuals are propagating false information to the effect that special dispensation will be made exclusively for the vaccination of Muslims and prospective pilgrims in the country.
“This is not true in any shape or form… We, therefore, advise all Ghanaians to take the necessary steps to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it is made available in their towns, villages and communities,” Sheikh Quaye added.
The chairman was speaking at a press briefing in Accra.
The call follows an August 8, 2021 decision by the government of the Saudi Arabia to begin receiving pilgrimage requests from foreign worshippers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, starting August 9, 2021.
This comes about 18 months after Saudi authorities had closed the borders to foreign pilgrims due to the COVID-19 pandemic, denying pilgrims from Ghana the opportunity to embark on the Hajj for the second year in a row.
The Hajj which took place in July this year was opened to only a limited number of domestic worshippers in Saudi Arabia.
In all, Saudi Arabia has registered nearly 532,000 COVID-19 cases, with more than 8,300 deaths.
Vaccination is, therefore, mandatory for anyone seeking to enter government and private establishments, including educational institutions and entertainment venues, as well as the use of public transport in that country.
Sheikh Quaye further said the board fully endorsed the new directive by the Saudi government, since it was designed to ensure the safety and well-being of all pilgrims, adding: “The welfare of society, and indeed the world, must be our main motivation in our endeavour to participate in Hajj 2022.”
He commended the government of Ghana for its effort in the acquisition and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
“I would like to salute both the President and the Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana for supporting Muslims; at the moment, all is clear that in 2022 the pilgrimage will happen,” the chairman said.