HYDERABAD: For the first time, Indian doctors have come out with a consensus statement recommending pneumococcal vaccination for Indian pilgrims visiting the Islamic holy cities of Makkah and Medina for Haj and Umrah.The Haj-2017 is scheduled to begin next month while Umrah (minor pilgrimage) is performed round the year during the non-Haj season.
At present, vaccination for meningitis (meningococcal bacteria) and polio is mandatory for Indian pilgrims performing Haj or Umrah. Depending on the spurt in seasonal influenza, Saudi health authorities issue advisory on vaccination against human flu. Vaccination against pneumococcal bacteria, which cause respiratory problems including pneumonia, is not required for Indian pilgrims.
The team said one-third of Haj pilgrims are considered "at risk" of pneumococcal disease either due to age or preexisting medical conditions.