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MRF urges pilgrims to ensure they are vaccinated against meningitis

MRF urges pilgrims to ensure they are vaccinated against meningitis

27 September 2012

Pilgrims to this year’s Hajj, (24-27 October), are being urged to get vaccinated against meningitis before embarking on their trip to Mecca by national charity Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

The charity reminds travellers that vaccination is a visa requirement and they 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 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, and should always be used for children under 5 years old. In children less than 1 year of age, Menveo® should be used.

Christopher Head, MRF Chief Executive, said: "Meningitis and septicaemia can kill in hours. It is vital that pilgrims protect themselves by getting vaccinated but we must remind them that vaccines only protect against some kinds of meningitis, so it is also important to know the symptoms. and get medical help if a case is suspected, swift action saves lives."

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have set up a national network of vaccination clinics in England, Scotland and Wales where Menveo® is offered to pilgrims travelling on Hajj or Umrah at a reduced price. This cost includes the vaccine, administration and the certificate. For more information, or to find your nearest clinic visit www.mcb-vac.co.uk.

The MCB network of vaccination clinics doesn’t cover Northern Ireland so contact GP practices and travel clinics for information on vaccination.

Menveo® has been certified as Halal by the Indonesian Council of Ulama and the US Islamic Association.