Health requirements for pilgrims attending the Hajj in Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 24–29 October 2012


Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The 2012 Hajj is expected to gather over two million Muslims from more than 180 countries across the globe between 24 and 29 October and is by far the largest mass gathering in the world. With the Hajj approaching, the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia has issued information in Arabic and English about health requirements and recommendations on its website [1].

A publication in the Weekly Epidemiological Record informs visitors in English and French of the full requirements for entry into Saudi Arabia and information is also available in English from The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) website [2,3].

Special requirements for visitors to the Hajj concern vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis. For individuals coming from countries where polio and yellow fever occur vaccination is also required (the latter are not specifically relevant to those travelling from Ireland).

Before travel it is always a good idea to make sure you are up to date on all your vaccinations including measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio, as well as other vaccines if indicated.

Meningococcal meningitis
Visitors are required to produce a certificate of vaccination with the quadrivalent (ACYW135) vaccine against meningitis issued not more than 3 years previously and not less than 10 days before arrival in Saudi Arabia.

Although Poliomyelitis has not been reported in Ireland for many years, all travelers to Saudia Arabia should ensure that they are up to date on all vaccines (including polio vaccine).

Seasonal influenza is recommended for travelers to the Hajj, particularly those at risk of severe complications.

For more information please see the following references:

1. Saudi Ministry of Health Requirements and Health Matters. Riyadh: Ministry of Hajj. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [Accessed 13 Sep 2012]. Available from:

2. World Health Organization. Health conditions for travellers to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). Wkly Epidemiol Rec. 87:277-80, 2012. [Accessed 5 September 2012]. Available at:

3. National Travel Health Network and Centre. Advice for Pilgrims for the Hajj and Umrah Season of 1433 (2012). London: Health protection Agency. [Accessed 13 September 2012]. Available from: