We use necessary cookies that allow our site to work. We also set optional cookies that help us improve our website For more information about the types of cookies we use, visit our Cookies policy and manage your preferences.


Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

During the joyous time of pilgrimage to Hajj or Umrah, millions of people from all over the world come together in Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Higher risk of meningitis at Hajj and Umrah

The crowded conditions at ceremonies, accommodation sites and on public transport put pilgrims at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, including meningitis.

Getting vaccinated

  • There are different types and causes of meningitis, but pilgrims going to Hajj or Umrah are at increased risk from meningococcal bacteria
  • All pilgrims need to receive the MenACWY vaccine and have a valid vaccination certificate from a doctor before a visa can be issued from the Saudi Embassy. The vaccine certificate must have been issued at least 10 days before arrival and clearly state which vaccine has been given
  • The conjugate MenACWY vaccine is a longer lasting vaccine (Menveo® or Nimenrix®) and is valid for five years
  • The older polysaccharide MenACWY vaccine (ACWY Vax®) is no longer used in the UK, but may still be offered in other countries. It is only valid for three years
  • Allow plenty of time for vaccination before you travel. Adults need to have the vaccine at least three weeks before. Young children may need more than one dose
  • Make sure you carry the emergency contact information provided by your travel specialist
  • For further information go to the Council for British Hajjis

There aren’t vaccines for all types of meningitis, so remaining vigilant is vital. In the early stages, meningitis symptoms can appear very similar to a common cold or flu.

Concerned about meningitis?

If you are on Hajj or Umrah and suspect meningitis, make sure you get immediate medical attention.

  • Describe the symptoms and say you think it might be meningitis or septicaemia
  • Trust your instincts. You know your loved ones, and your own body, best
  • Early diagnosis can be difficult. If you have had medical advice and are still worried, get medical help again
  • Carry one of our free signs and symptoms cards with you- Call 0808 80 10 388 or download our meningitis symptoms mobile optimised images and videos

If you are in the UK, you can contact your GP or in an emergency, go to the nearest accident and emergency department or dial 999.

If you have any questions, call our Meningitis Helpline on 0808 80 10 388.