The Bristol, UK based Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) issued an advisory last week for all Hajj pilgrims to ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date prior to the trip to Saudi Arabia. Vaccination is a visa requirement for all travelers 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. 

Neisseria meningitidis  Image/CDC
Neisseria meningitidis

Focusing on meningitis vaccines, the MRF notes: 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 

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page