Hajj takes place once a year, whereas Umrah can take place at any time of the year. Therefore it is important that travel health centres are aware of the vaccination requirements for these individuals as well as vaccination certification requirements.
The following vaccinations are mandatory:
- Meningococcal ACWY vaccine
- COVID – 19 vaccine full course
- Polio vaccine (travelling from certain countries)
- Yellow fever vaccine (if travelling from a YF risk area)
For full details please find further information on travel health pro:
Meningococcal ACWY vaccine
What is Meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterial infection, from the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. Meningococcal infections can be very serious, causing meningitis and blood poisoning (sepsis). This can lead to severe brain damage, amputations and, sometimes, death. It is transmitted via respiratory secretions e.g. coughing and sneezing.
There are different groups of meningococci, of which A, C, W and Y are four of them.
Signs and symptoms
- High temperature
- Severe headache
- Stiffness of the neck
- Nausea and vomiting
Risk to travellers
There is a risk of getting meningitis globally, however there is a high occurrence in sub-Saharan Africa. This area is known as the ‘meningitis belt’. Travellers would usually be recommended vaccination, depending on the nature of their activity in the countries of high risk.
As well as this, travellers to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah and seasonal workers require vaccination to meet entry requirements.
Children in the UK receive a combined Hib and Men C vaccine when they are 1 year old as well as Men B vaccination. A combined A, C, W, Y vaccine is offered to teenagers as they are at higher risk by being in closer contact with a lot of people that may have potential to pass on the meningococcal bacteria. Not all teenagers may have got the vaccinations and adults may not have had the vaccination programme in place, so it is important to check individual circumstances.
There are two different vaccines available for protection against Meningitis ACWY. These are: