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Meningitis vaccine for Hajj is available

Prior to the 1415H Hajj season, the Ministry of Health began a national campaign for vaccination against meningococcal meningitis. If they are over age 2 and/or have not been vaccinated against meningitis in the previous two years, all people working at Hajj or performing Hajj should be vaccinated, as should all their household contacts.
The vaccine is available at primary health care centers, hospitals and private clinics. The vaccine is a polysaccharide for groups A and C.
History of meningococcal vaccine
Several attempts were made to develop a vaccine against meningococcal disease before 1940. These early vaccines consisted of either killed whole organisms or crude extracts of broth cultures. During the mid-1940s, several investigators demonstrated that antibodies to the group-specific capsular polysaccharide antigens could passively protect mice against lethal challenge. However, purified preparations of these polysaccharides failed to induce antibody responses in human volunteers. The success of sulfonamides in both the treatment and the prevention of meningococcal disease at that time made vaccine development less essential.
However, in 1963 sulfonamide-resistant strains of group B meningococci spread, first among U.S. military personnel and then among civilians. Sulfonamide-resistant group C meningococci became the predominant cause of disease throughout the armed forces, and vaccine development was undertaken to control epidemic disease in recruits.
Following the demonstration that circulating antibody directed toward the group-specific capsular polysaccharide of group A and C confers resistance to meningococcal disease, the stage was set for purification of high-molecular-weight polysaccharides of group A and C and subsequently Y and W-135 by Gotschlich and colleagues. The group TS polysaccharide that is closely related to certain human brain antigens, as web as blood group antigens, appears to be less effective as an immunagen than are type-specific protein antigens. The four polysaccharide antigens (A, C, Y and W-135) cave been combined in a tetravalent vaccine and made available in a single-dose combination.
  1. Plotkin SA and MortimeT EA. Vaccines (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co., 1908: 507.