Public Health Ministry: Flu vaccines prepared


BANGKOK, 22 August 2011 – The Ministry of Public Health has prepared 2.5 million doses of vaccine against three strains of influenza for people, especially those in risky groups to prevent them from seasonal influenza. 

According to Public Health Minister Wittaya Buranasiri, influenza is found spreading in small groups of people during this rainy season. The Bureau of Epidemiology reported that from 1 January to 10 August 2011, there were 21,398 flu patients with four fatalities, down from the figure last year of 115,183 cases with 126 fatalities.

To prevent flu spread and reduce fatalities, the ministry has prepared 2.5 million doses of flu vaccines, covering influenza A (H1N1), influenza B and influenza A (H3N2) to be injected to risky groups of people, including medical personnel, senior citizens aged over 65 and people with chronic diseases.

So far, 1.5 million doses were injected. Vaccination for risk groups is scheduled to finish this August. Patients with seven chronic diseases, including pneumonia, asthma, heart disease, stroke, chronic renal failure, cancer under chemotherapy and diabetes are recommended to receive vaccination.

Patients in the said risk groups can receive vaccination free of charge at all public hospitals and participated private hospitals nationwide.

In addition, the minister has assigned the Department of Disease Control to prepare 1,000 doses of flu vaccine for MPs and senators as well as parliament staff wishing to receive the vaccine when Parliament convenes for the government’s policy statement this Tuesday. He said both politicians and parliament staff had to work hard and had little time to rest. Therefore, it is easier for them to catch flu due to weaker immunity.