The Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday that vaccination against meningitis is mandatory for all local and international Haj pilgrims.
Taking the flu shot is also recommended, in addition to quarantine requirements for foreign pilgrims depending on the country they live in, according to officials.
“Vaccination should be taken at least 10 days before pilgrims arrive into the holy cities,” Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Mirghalani told Arab News.
“Vaccination against meningitis is valid only for a period of three years.”
Mirghalani pointed out that meningitis, a serious condition, may spread during Haj because of pilgrims coming from endemic countries.
“Congestion and overcrowding facilitates the transmission of the disease,” he said. “The vaccine is given to adults and children over the age of two, but is not administered on pregnant women.”
Mirghalani said the ministry’s national scientific committee, which acts as a command center for the pilgrimage, monitors pilgrims arriving from around the globe to keep a tab on all infectious diseases.
He pointed out that the health requirements for this year focused on several diseases, such as Ebola, coronavirus, yellow fever, meningitis, polio and vaccination against seasonal influenza virus.