Swine flu vaccine shipment arriving Sunday

The first batch of 80,000 doses of the swine flu vaccine is expected to arrive in Egypt early Sunday. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 700 swine flu deaths worldwide over the past week.

In order to ensure control over flu vaccine distribution, Minister of Health Dr. Hatem el-Gabali decided the vaccines should be delivered to the ministry and not to the Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA). A committee composed of Major General Ahmed Farag, assistant minister of health for financial and administrative affairs, and Dr. Nasr el-Sayed, assistant minister for prophylactic medicine, will assess distribution needs and determine the proper amounts to be dispensed.

Pilgrims and people with the greatest needs will be vaccinated first, including physicians and employees working in related fields.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the Ministry of Health announced the death of Sabreen el-Sayed, 37, from Ismailia, marking the fourth recorded swine flu death in Egypt. In addition, a class at the Horeya Preparatory School for Boys in Ain Shams was ordered closed by Cairo Governor Azeem Wazir after a boy, 11, was found to be infected.

In a related development, Dr. Hussein el-Gazaeri, head of the WHO regional bureau, said that the slow spread of the flu in Egypt is reassuring. Egypt has only seen three fatal cases, while Kuwait, which has a much smaller population, has 16 deaths so far, he explained (The statement was given before the fourth death was announced). El-Gazaeri also said fears regarding the dangers of the vaccine are unfounded.

Saudi authorities have taken all measures to counter the spread of the flu, he said, nonetheless, pilgrims who have previously performed the pilgrimage should postpone their trip in order to limit the spread of the flu.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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