During the 8th – 13th days of the Dhu al-Hijjah (the 12th month of the Islamic calendar), thousands upon thousands take the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The Hajj is one of the biggest annual pilgrimages in the world, with around 3.7 million pilgrims participating, and culminates in the beautiful and holy lands of the Makkah Province in Saudi Arabia.
Unlike Hajj, Umrah is a pilgrimage to Mecca that can be taken at any date through the year. This pilgrimage is highly recommended for those of the Islamic faith, but isn’t compulsory like Hajj.
Health Regulations for Pilgrimage
Whichever type of pilgrimage you are planning to make, there are a number of health regulations to follow that are published by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health (MoH). These recommendations for travellers contain all the vaccine requirements for your entry into the country. Make sure you’re clued up on what you need to do before you make pilgrimage this year.
If you’re coming from within the UK, then you’ll need the vaccine against Meningococcal Meningitis ACWY. Anyone over the age of 2 making an Umrah or Hajj pilgrimage, or even anyone planning on a work trip to the Hajj area, will need to bring a certificate of vaccination. You’ll have to bring one that’s been issued no longer than 3-5 years ago (depending on which vaccine you received) and no less than 10 days before the flight. If you’re coming from the UK, you won’t even be able to get a visa for your trip unless you’ve got the certificate proving this while you apply.
Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges).
The meningitis ACWY vaccine offers protection against 4 types of bacteria that can cause meningitis: meningococcal groups A, C, W and Y.
Symptoms of meningitis include:
Babies may also:
Meningitis is a life-threatening condition. If you think you or your child may be seriously ill, you must get medical help straight away.
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