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Meningococcal Vaccination (Travel and Hajj)

Meningococcal Vaccination (Travel and Hajj)

Hajj and travel

The meningococcal vaccine is mandatory for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

  • Vaccination is required to obtain a visa to enter Saudi Arabia.
  • All pilgrims over the age of two must be vaccinated against certain diseases such as meningitis.


In addition to being a requirement for the Hajj pilgrimage, the meningococcal vaccine is also highly recommended for trips to certain parts of Africa. All travellers should consult a travel health professional, preferably six weeks before departure. Groupe Santé Voyage’s mission is to help you plan your trip’s medical needs!

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is a serious infection of the thin membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is most often caused by an infection (bacterial, viral or fungal). Meningococcal meningitis is associated with a high case-fatality rate (up to 50% when left untreated) and a high frequency (over 10%) of severe sequelae.

Different bacteria can cause meningitis. Neisseria meningitidis is the most likely to cause major epidemics. 12 serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis have been identified, 6 of which are known to cause epidemics (A, B, C, W135, X and Y). Geographical distribution and epidemic potential vary from one serogroup to another.

Bacterial transmission occurs from person to person via droplets of respiratory or throat secretions. Close, prolonged contact (kissing, sneezing and coughing), or close proximity to an infected person (living in a dormitory, sharing cutlery or glasses) favors the spread of the disease. The incubation period averages four days, but can range from 2 to 10 days.

Possible meningitis vaccines (A,C, W135, X and Y): Ménactra, Nimenrix, Menvéo

Source: World Health Organization