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The Hajj and Travel

In 2019 Hajj will fall between the 9th and 14th of August. Please remember that it is advisable to book your appointment 6-8 weeks before you travel to ensure that you have received all the recommended treatments.

Advice is published by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health (MoH).

These recommendations for travellers contain all the vaccine requirements for your entry into the country.

Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)

This is a viral infection that can initially cause a fever, cough, nose and throat congestion, diarrhoea and shortness of breath. If you have any of these symptoms after travelling to Saudi Arabia, seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health recommend that the following people should delay taking Hajj or Umrah:

  • Those with severe medical conditions like heart, kidney or respiratory diseases

  • Diabetics

  • Those with immune deficiencies, terminal or malignant illnesses

  • Those over 65 or under 12 years of age

  • Pregnant women

Hajj can be incredibly tiring and taxing on your health because of the high temperatures, long walking distances, and the large numbers of pilgrims. If you’re going this year, the Ministry of Health has published a list of helpful tips and guidelines for pilgrims to follow in order to help reduce the risk of respiratory infection. Here’s a quick round-up of what they say:

  • Personal hygiene: make sure to wash your hands with soap, water or antibacterial gel regularly. If you’re coughing or sneezing, or are around people who are, then this is extra important.

  • Always use disposable tissues if you need them.

  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands, as this can spread infections.

  • Don’t get too close to anyone showing signs of infection.

  • Avoid touching local animals.

  • Take proper care with anything you eat or drink while you’re on pilgrimage.

If you’re coming from within the UK, then you’ll need the vaccine against Meningococcal Meningitis ACWY.

You 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.

The Saudi Arabian MoH recommends that pilgrims have had all the usual immunisations you need for living in the UK (i.e. 5 doses of the tetanus vaccine and 5 doses of the polio vaccine). You’ll need to get a booster vaccine for polio if it’s been more than 10 years since your last one.

This is also a great chance to check that you are protected against measles, seasonal influenza and rubella.

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