Egypt will give swine flu vaccinations to citizens making the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali said in a report on Wednesday.

The A(H1N1) vaccinations would be available from Friday, and pilgrims "must be vaccinated according to instructions and conditions of the Saudi health ministry," the daily Al-Masri Al-Yom quoted Gabali as saying.

Saudi Arabia says it is prepared to welcome some three million people during the annual hajj to Mecca in late November, and has asked pilgrims to be vaccinated against ordinary flu and H1N1 beforehand.

Egypt, which sends tens of thousands of pilgrims to Mecca, announced in August it would buy five million doses of vaccine, a figure likely to double or even triple in the winter.

The country of 80 million people has reported three deaths related to the virus which it says has infected more than 1,000 people.

Authorities have taken strict measures to contain the spread of swine flu including slaughtering 250,000 pigs in a step that drew heavy criticism and delaying school and university entrance dates by a few weeks.

iba/dv/hkb

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