Background: Major intercontinental outbreaks of invasive meningococcal disease associated with the Hajj occurred in 1987, 2000, and 2001. Mandatory meningococcal vaccination for all pilgrims against serogroups A and C and, subsequently, A, C, W, and Y controlled the epidemics. Overseas pilgrims show excellent
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Background: Major intercontinental outbreaks of invasive meningococcal disease associated with the Hajj occurred in 1987, 2000, and 2001. Mandatory meningococcal vaccination for all pilgrims against serogroups A and C and, subsequently, A, C, W, and Y controlled the epidemics. Overseas pilgrims show excellent adherence to the policy; however, vaccine uptake among domestic pilgrims is suboptimal. This survey aimed to evaluate meningococcal vaccine uptake among Hajj pilgrims and to identify key factors affecting this. Methods: An anonymous cross-sectional survey was conducted among pilgrims in Greater Makkah during the Hajj in 2017–2018. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, vaccination status, cost of vaccination, and reasons behind non-receipt of the vaccine were collected. Results: A total of 509 respondents aged 13 to 82 (median 33.8) years participated in the survey: 86% male, 85% domestic pilgrims. Only 389/476 (81.7%) confirmed their meningococcal vaccination status; 64 individuals (13.4%), all domestic pilgrims, did not receive the vaccine, and 23 (4.8%) were unsure. Among overseas pilgrims, 93.5% certainly received the vaccine (6.5% were unsure) compared to 80.9% of domestic pilgrims (p
< 0.01). Being employed and having a tertiary qualification were significant predictors of vaccination adherence (odds ratio (OR) = 2.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.3–3.8, p
< 0.01; and OR = 1.7, CI = 1–2.5, p
< 0.05, respectively). Those who obtained pre-Hajj health advice were more than three times as likely to be vaccinated than those who did not (OR = 3.3, CI = 1.9–5.9, p
< 0.001). Lack of awareness (63.2%, 36/57) and lack of time (15.8%, 9/57) were the most common reasons reported for non-receipt of vaccine. Conclusion: Many domestic pilgrims missed the compulsory meningococcal vaccine; in this regard, lack of awareness is a key barrier. Being an overseas pilgrim (or living at a distance from Makkah), receipt of pre-Hajj health advice, and employment were predictors of greater compliance with the vaccination policy. Opportunities remain to reduce the policy–practice gap among domestic pilgrims.