Most schoolchildren forgo H1N1 vaccine

The Health Ministry has announced that the parents of only 20,000 school students in six provinces had consented to have their children vaccinated against the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu.

"Our target was two million students," said ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman Shahin. "The number we’ve reached is unsatisfactory. I call on parents to allow us to vaccinate their children."

Shahin claimed that many parents had misunderstood the application form, provided by the ministry, for the vaccine. "They thought it was a legal statement that put responsibility on them should anything go wrong," he said.

Shahin stopped short, however, of calling the ministry’s vaccination campaign a failure. "We will continue to provide the vaccine, even if parents don’t give it to their children," he said, noting that the government had paid some US$150 million for five million doses.

The ministry spokesman went on to say that H1N1 vaccinations would be made obligatory for all Egyptian Umrah pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia. "By vaccinating Hajj pilgrims before, we avoided a potentially wider proliferation of the virus in Egypt," he noted.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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