Travel to the Hajj 2012

The Saudi Ministry of Health requires that all pilgrims obtain a meningitis vaccine.  A Hajj visa will not be issued without proof of vaccination (Yellow Card).  The vaccine is required for those 2 years of age and older and must be obtained not more than 3 years and not less than 10 days before travel.
Mass gatherings such as the Hajj are an ideal environment for the spread of infectious disease.  Influenza, meningitis, polio, and many others can be spread person to person.  Other diseases like Hepatitis A and Typhoid can cause diarrheal illness from contaminated food or water.
List of recommended vaccinations for travel to the Hajj 2012:

  1. Meningitis ACYW135  (required to obtain a visa)
  2. Influenza (recommended by Saudi Ministry of health at least 2 weeks before applying for visa)
  3. Typhoid
  4. Polio booster
  5. Hepatitis A (2 doses at least 6 months apart for greatest immunity)
  6. Be up to date with regular vaccinations 
              - Measles, Mumps, Rubella
              - Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis
  7. Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B and C are transmitted through blood or sexual contact.  Transmission can occur through contaminated medical or other instruments.  Men shave their head after Hajj and unclean blades can transmit disease.  The Saudi authorities provide licensed barbers with new disposable blades for each use.  Male pilgrims should only go to the officially designated centers to be shaved.  There is no vaccination for Hepatitis C.

Not all infectious diseases can be prevented by vaccines and travelers should wash their hands often, eat only cooked food that is hot, and drink beverages only from sealed containers.