Health Ministry offers free influenza/ Meningococcal Meningitis vaccination for Hajj pilgrims

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BANGKOK, 12 July 2012  – The Health Ministry is now offering free vaccination for those planning to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia later this year.

Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said on Wednesday that the Health Ministry is inviting Thai Muslim pilgrims, who plan to travel to attend this year’s Hajj in Saudi Arabia and have registered their names with the Department of Religious Affairs, to receive free influenza and Meningococcal Meningitis vaccination from now until August 31st.

Mr. Witthaya estimated that between 13,000 and 16,000 Thai Muslims are going for the Hajj pilgrimage this year.

The free vaccination service is available at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, the International Port Health Office: Bangkok Seaport, the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute – The Thai Red Cross Society, all Navaminthra hospitals, all 14 southern Provincial Health offices and the International Health Office in Songkhla and Narathiwat.

The Health Minister added that state hospitals in 5 southern border provinces have also launched the Hajj Clinic service to provide the pilgrims all health checkups prior to the trip.

Moreover, the Health Ministry is prepared to send 3 medical teams with all essential supplies and equipment to set up a temporary 20-bed hospital at Mecca, Medina and Arafah cities during September 16th and November 30th.

Mr. Witthaya said that the planned temporary hospital project was initiated under the collaboration with local hospitals in Saudi Arabia to offer treatment to out-patients and emergency medical services during the Hajj.

According to the Health Ministry, more than 18,000 patients checked into receive medical attention at the temporary hospitals during last year’s Hajj.