Hajj pilgrims vaccine warning
08 August 2014
We are calling on all Hajj pilgrims to make sure their vaccinations are up to date before they embark on their trip to Mecca. Vaccination is a visa requirement for all travellers who must have a certificate showing that they have been vaccinated at least 10 days before leaving for Saudi Arabia, but no more than three years before arrival. This also applies to seasonal workers in Hajj areas.
The mandatory requirement for meningococcal ACWY vaccination was introduced over 10 years ago following large epidemics of meningococcal disease world-wide after pilgrims returned to their own countries.
There are now three ACWY vaccines available: newer conjugate ACWY vaccines Menveo® and Nimenrix®, as well as an older old one (ACWY Vax®). The newer conjugate meningococcal ACWY vaccines are preferred by the Department of Health for all travellers because they provide stronger protection, and should always be used for children under five years old. In children less than one year of age, Menveo® should be used.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have set up a national network of vaccination clinics in England, Scotland and Wales where Menveo® (certified Halal) is offered to pilgrims travelling on Hajj or Umrah at a reduced price. This cost includes the vaccine, administration and the certificate. However, the MCB network of vaccination clinics doesn’t cover Northern Ireland so contact GP practices and travel clinics for information on vaccination. For more information, or to find your nearest clinic visit www.mcb-vac.co.uk
However, it is still vital to know the symptoms of meningitis, as the vaccinations do not protect against all kinds of the disease. If you suspect that anyone is ill, seek swift medical action; spotting the signs early can be the difference between life and death.
We provide audio and written information about symptoms and about travel vaccines available for pilgrims on Hajj in many languages including Arabic, Bengali (Sylheti), Gujarati, Punjabi, Somali, Turkish and Urdu at: www.meningitis.org/symptoms/other-languages
An interpretation service in 150 languages is available through the Freefone helpline on: 080 8800 3344.