11:40am Wednesday 16 October 2019

Travel advice for pilgrims to Mecca (Hajj)

Illustration photo, www. colourbox.comIn previous years, there have been outbreaks of infectious diseases during Hajj. This year, Hajj will take place 4-9th November.

Here is some simple travel advice for pilgrims travelling from Norway: 

  • Have up-to-date vaccinations against the diseases tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and polio (boosters are recommended every 10th year). Some people may also need the MMR vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine. 
  • Saudi Arabian health authorities require vaccination against meningococcal meningitis for anyone over 2 years. An international vaccination certificate must be carried during the journey. The Menveo (meningococcal meningitis A+C+W+Y conjugate vaccine) is recommended for adolescents over 11 years old and adults. This is more effective than the meningococcal meningitis A+C+W+Y polysaccharide vaccine (Mencevax ACWY), particularly among adolescents. Data about use of the vaccine for younger children is also available and it is expected that Menveo will be approved for children under 11 years old in 2012. The individual doctor may consider giving Menveo to children between 2 and 11 years. In special cases, Mencevax ACWY vaccine can be ordered with an approval exemption. 
  • Meningococcal meningitis vaccine must be given in the period between three years and ten days before travelling to Saudi Arabia. 
  • Bring a first aid package that includes sufficient amounts of any regular medication, and medication for diarrhoea, including salts for oral rehydration solutions. 
  • Have valid travel insurance. 
  • Saudi Arabian health authorities also require pilgrims to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza, containing influenza A H1N1. 
  • Exercise caution if you consume meals at improvised restaurants. 
  • Buy bottled water. It is easily accessible and affordable.

The same advice applies at Umra even though the population there will be smaller.

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