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Pfizer inks MOU with BUMITRA Malaysia to drive pneumococcal disease prevention among Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

The partnership aims to encourage hajj and umrah pilgrims to consult their doctor about pneumococcal vaccination before leaving for the Holy Land to minimise the risk of ill health, hospitalisation, and spread of disease1

•    More than 200,000 Malaysian pilgrims are expected to perform Umrah for the 1443 H season2 .
•    Respiratory tract infections such as pneumococcal disease are of great concern due to crowding in a limited space which facilitates and magnifies the potential of disease spread among the pilgrims1.
•    Pneumococcal disease is one of the leading causes of hospitalisation among pilgrims1.
•    Vaccination is recommended to prevent pneumococcal disease3 , especially for those who smoke, aged 60 years old and above, or with chronic conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, heart disease, and diabetes4 .

KUALA LUMPUR, 11 November 2021 – Pfizer Malaysia and BUMITRA Malaysia today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will see them collaborate on a pneumococcal disease awareness campaign to encourage vaccination among the hajj and umrah pilgrims as an integral part of preventive health precautions before they travel for the Holy Land1.

​​​​​​​The signing ceremony was officiated by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (abbreviated MOTAC). Tuan Haji Harun KC Ahmmu, President, BUMITRA Malaysia and Mdm. Luksanawan Thangpaibool, Country Manager, Pfizer Malaysia & Brunei signed the MOU on behalf of their respective organisations.

Catering to the increasingly tech-savvy and mobile audience, the pneumococcal disease awareness campaign is anchored on the BUMITRA Malaysia Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bumitramalaysia). The page will serve as the main platform to provide information about pneumococcal pneumonia in various formats such as comics, posters, downloadable infographics, as well as animated videos that aim to inspire Malaysian pilgrims to take charge of their health and achieve disease prevention through vaccination.

“It is important for all pilgrims to take care of their health prior to their journey to perform hajj and umrah at the Holy Land. In addition to hospitalisation and disruption to their pilgrimage1, pneumococcal infection could also spread to family members and loved ones such as babies and the elderly who may have weaker immune systems5 ,” said Tuan Haji Harun KC Ahmmu, President, BUMITRA Malaysia at the official signing of  the MOU  held  at  JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

“At BUMITRA, our purpose is to protect the pilgrims through precautionary measures that could help them achieve a healthy, fruitful, and safe journey, in addition to observing all the directives from the authorities such as practising physical distancing among the pilgrims. In conjunction with World Pneumonia Day, we are delighted to partner with Pfizer as there is no better time to raise awareness and empower our pilgrims with this knowledge to ensure the continuity of ibadah,” added Tuan Haji Harun KC Ahmmu.

Expanding disease prevention through vaccination among hajj and umrah pilgrims
Pneumococcal disease is one of the leading causes of hospitalisation among the pilgrims1. It is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus)6  and people with pneumococcal disease can spread the bacteria to others when they cough or sneeze1. Respiratory tract infections such as pneumococcal disease are of great concern due to crowding in a limited space which facilitates and magnifies the potential of disease spread among the pilgrims1.

“We are often unaware of the impact that infectious diseases can have on ourselves and our loved ones. They can put us at risk of serious medical conditions . Ongoing vaccination is a crucial cornerstone in keeping our communities healthy as it protects us from many serious infectious diseases at every stage of life8 . It is important for people to consult their doctors on how they can protect themselves and their loved ones against vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Mdm. Luksanawan Thangpaibool, Country Manager, Pfizer Malaysia & Brunei.

“At Pfizer, we believe in a world where no one should suffer from a vaccine-preventable disease. For over a century9 , our vaccines have helped to protect many people against life-threatening infectious diseases such as pneumococcal pneumonia. Hand in hand with the healthcare providers, patient advocates, policymakers and professional organisations such as BUMITRA Malaysia, we seek to extend the protective power of vaccination as broadly as possible. Today, we are delighted to  partner BUMITRA Malaysia for the launch of the pneumococcal awareness campaign among the hajj and umrah pilgrims to minimise the risk of ill health, hospitalisation and spread of disease. You have the power to help prevent disease,” added Mdm. Luksanawan Thangpaibool.

About BUMITRA Malaysia
BUMITRA Malaysia or the Malaysian Bumiputera Association of Tour and Travel Agents was incorporated in 1981. Almost 60 tour agencies with 100% Bumiputera status became members, including travel and tour agencies from Sabah and Sarawak. The association’s primary goal is to preserve the welfare of its members and act as a gateway to Government agencies such as MOTAC in all issues concerning the development of the tourism industry, especially those pertaining to Bumiputera companies.

About Pfizer Inc.: Breakthroughs that change patients' lives
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. 

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