Health Ministry has no vaccines for Haj pilgrims

  1. The Union Health Ministry is struggling with the paucity of meningitis vaccines for Haj pilgrims. This is because the only firm manufacturing them was asked to stop production in 2018 after type-2 polio virus contamination was detected in its oral polio vaccines.
  2. Meningitis is an inflammation/swelling of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. A bacterial or viral infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord usually causes the swelling. It is spread through respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit). Vaccines can prevent some forms of meningitis
  3. People travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umra are required to submit a certificate of vaccination with the quadrivalent (ACYW 135) vaccine against meningitis. They have to prove that the vaccine was administered no more than 3 years ago and no less than 10 days before arrival in the country.
  4. The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the pilgrimage. Hajj has specific dates according to the Islamic lunar calendar.