The uptake of the pneumococcal vaccine is suboptimal in Australia and remains unknown among Australian Hajj pilgrims, many of whom are eligible because of age or underlying disease and at particular risk because of travel and activities at Hajj. Pneumococcal vaccination uptake was examined over three consecutive years (2011 to 2013) through anonymous self-administered cross sectional surveys among Australian pilgrims who assembled in Mina valley, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Respectively, 158, 513 and 219 pilgrims were recruited in 2011, 2012 and 2013; their mean ages were 43.8 (SD±13), 43 (SD±13.5) and 42.6 (SD±12.3) years; males accounted for 67 (42.4%), 325 (63.4%) and 172 (78.5%). Pneumococcal vaccine uptake rates were 28.5% (45/158), 28.7% (147/513) and 14.2% (31/219); among the pilgrims with ‘at risk’ conditions the pneumococcal vaccine uptake rates were 15 (30.6%), 43 (45.3%) and 9 (29%) respectively. According to our surveys, the pneumococcal vaccine uptake among Australian pilgrims is low. Further research is needed to explore the reasons through a validated study.
Keywords: Hajj, Mecca, Pneumococcal vaccine, vaccination coverage.