Saudi Arabia

If you're planning a trip to Saudi Arabia we've got some helpful advice on what vaccinations you need and other risks you should be aware of. 

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Saudi Arabia landscape

You should visit a travel clinic 6 - 8 weeks before your trip to ensure that you will be able to get all vaccinations you need in time. Our pharmacist will provide advice of the vaccinations recommended so you can make an informed choice.

Recommended for all travellers:

  • Tetanus (£35 per dose) - Only available as a combined vaccination (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio)
  • Hepatitis A (£55 per dose) - May be given as a course of two or more doses
  • Hepatitis B (£50 per dose) - May be given as a course of two or more doses
  • Meningitis ACWY (£50 per dose)
  • Rabies (£62 per dose) - May be given as a course of two or more doses

Other risk factors


At altitude the air pressure is lower and this means there is less oxygen available to your body when you breathe. We need oxygen for our bodies to work properly. The process of your body adapting to the lower oxygen levels is called acclimatisation and it takes about 3 to 5 days.  If your body does not get enough time to acclimatise to being at high altitude, you can develop altitude sickness (sometimes called mountain sickness). Altitude sickness usually happens at levels above 2,500m.

Altitude sickness can develop very quickly and can be life threatening. There is a risk of altitude illness when travelling to destinations of 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) or higher. Important risk factors are the altitude gained, rate of ascent and sleeping altitude. Rapid ascent without a period of acclimatisation puts a traveller at higher risk. There is a point of elevation in this country higher than 2,500 metres.

The best way to prevent AMS is to give your body enough time to acclimatise to being at a higher altitude. You can do this by not travelling too quickly to altitudes above 2,500m.

Treatment of AMS

  • be aware of the signs and symptoms of AMS and let someone you are travelling with know that you are beginning to feel unwell
  • you should rest at that altitude you are at and not go any higher
  • take painkillers to treat any headache e.g. ibuprofen or paracetamol
  • if your symptoms of AMS do not improve over a day, then you should descend 500 to 1,000m to a lower altitude
  • once your symptoms have gone and you have fully recovered you can ascend again

If the signs of AMS are ignored and you continue to go higher, you are at risk of developing life threatening altitude sickness, High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE) and/or High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE). Both conditions are an emergency and can quickly result in death; descending to a lower altitude must be carried out immediately.

Find out more information at NaTHNaC - Saudi Arabia (


Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes which predominantly feed between dawn and dusk. It causes a flu-like illness, which can occasionally develop into a more serious life-threatening form of the disease. Severe dengue is rare in travellers.

The mosquitoes that transmit dengue are most abundant in towns, cities and surrounding areas. All travellers to dengue areas are at risk.

There is a risk of dengue in this country.

All travellers should avoid mosquito bites particularly between dawn and dusk. There is currently no medication or vaccination available for travellers to prevent dengue.

Find out more information at NaTHNaC - Saudi Arabia (

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus

MERS-CoV is a viral infection transmitted following direct or indirect contact with infected camels or camel-related products. Limited person to person transmission through coughing and sneezing from infected persons, typically in healthcare settings, has also been reported.

Symptoms include fever and cough that can progress to severe shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Deaths have been reported, with the risk increasing with advancing age or underlying medical conditions.

MERS-CoV has been reported to occur in this country.

Find out more information at NaTHNaC - Saudi Arabia (


Schistosomiasis is a parasitic infection. Schistosoma larvae are released from infected freshwater snails and can penetrate intact human skin following contact with contaminated freshwater. Travellers may be exposed during activities such as wading, swimming, bathing or washing clothes in freshwater streams, rivers or lakes.

Schistosomiasis infection may cause no symptoms, but early symptoms can include a rash and itchy skin (‘swimmer’s itch’), fever, chills, cough, or muscle aches. If not treated, it can cause serious long term health problems such as intestinal or bladder disease.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), cases of schistosomiasis were reported in this country in 2012.

There is no vaccine or tablets to prevent schistosomiasis. All travellers should avoid wading, swimming, or bathing in freshwater where possible. Swimming in chlorinated water or sea water is not a risk for schistosomiasis. Topical application of insect repellent before exposure to water, or towel drying after accidental exposure to schistosomiasis are not reliable in preventing infection. All travellers who may have been exposed to schistosomiasis should have a medical assessment.

Find out more information at NaTHNaC - Saudi Arabia (

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