Hajj is the spiritual pilgrimage of Muslims in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This is the largest annual mass gathering in the world. Nearly two million people from 183 countries participate in this pilgrimage that takes place every year from the 8th to the 12th day of the last month of the Islamic calendar.
Umrah is a pilgrimage that resembles Hajj that can be done at any time of the year.
Compulsory vaccination for pilgrimage
All travellers should consult a health professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks prior to departure.
It is mandatory to get vaccinated to get a visa to go to Saudi Arabia. Before leaving, all pilgrims over the age of two must be vaccinated against certain dangerous diseases such as meningitis.
It is important to note that vaccination against meningitis C that occurs in Quebec is insufficient for pilgrimage. Saudi authorities require the quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (A, C, Y and W135).
Poliomyelitis vaccines and yellow fever may also be required for travelers in some countries.
Hepatitis A and B are also recommended for travelers as well as the update of basic vaccines such as tetanus, measles, influenza, etc. Other vaccines may be recommended depending on the known health problems of the travelers who consult.
The vaccines recommended and required for a trip to Saudi Arabia are available at our Laval and Boisbriand vaccination clinics.
Recommended vaccination for pilgrimage
It is important to stay healthy during Hajj or Umrah to observe hygiene rules when coughing or sneezing. It is recommended to cover the mouth and nose with your arm instead of using the hand.
Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands in order to protect yourself from diseases.
It is recommended to pay attention to what you drink and eat. To reduce the risk of getting sick, choose freshly cooked and hot foods. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, street foods, water, ice cubes and fruit juices. Fresh foods such as salads, fruits and raw vegetables are also at risk, as are seafood and meats that are not cooked enough. Remember the following: “If it’s not boiled, cooked or peeled, do not touch it!”
Add a kit of health products in your luggage and do not forget to contribute to a travel health insurance. Also register for the Registration of Canadians Abroad in Urgent Situations.
Be cautious because the risk of accidental injury increases when you are in a large crowd.
Protect yourself from the sun and maintain good hydration by drinking water regularly.