First flu jabs on their way to Bahrain
Manama, October 28, 2009
Bahrain is expected to receive its first batch of 60,000 swine flu vaccines over the next week.
The vaccine was scheduled to arrive mid-October but was delayed due to paper work, said Health Ministry Public Health acting director Dr Khairiya Moosa.
A total of 200,000 doses of the vaccine have been ordered as a precautionary measure.
With regard to the dispute over whether pilgrims' should be obliged to take the flu vaccination, Dr Moosa explained that the issue was still being discussed.
His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa sent out a call on Monday urging ministries to put an end to the dispute.
Health Minister Dr Faisal Al Hamer announced that pilgrims had to get vaccinated before heading to Saudi Arabia.
However, Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Ali Khalifa said the vaccination was not compulsory.
The Premier urged the ministries to co-ordinate efforts on the issue.
'It has been referred to the National Disaster Committee and they haven't decided yet, we expect a decision within the next one or two days,' said Dr Moosa.
'I wish everyone in Bahrain take vaccine, it's very safe and it is for the sake of the person himself, the family and the community.
'People are scared because there are rumours that say it is not safe, but there is no scientific evidence to back this up.
'In countries such as China and Britain, where they have been given the vaccine, there are no problems.'
Meanwhile, a special needs boy's school was forced to close for a week because one of its teachers tested for swine flu.
Dr Moosa said that according to the World Health Organisation recommendations, just one case of swine flu in a special needs school was enough to close the school for a week.
'Because the children are in a high risk group, the school must close for a week. It is a small school, so students would be exposed to each other more,' she said.-TradeArabia News Service