‘Flu’ season is here – get your ‘free’ shots today

By Angel Chan

Image Courtesy: Sciencemag.com

Citizens and residents urged to take flu vaccine

ABU DHABI 25 November 2017: The Department of Health (DoH), is urging all citizens and residents to take the seasonal flu vaccine. The department is directing all UAE nationals and residents to all healthcare clinics under the Ambulatory Health Services (Seha), to be vaccinated for free.

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, Director of Communicable Diseases Department at DoH, said, “This is part of our drive to protect people’s health. We urge all residents to take the flu vaccine to protect their health and to stop the spread of this infectious disease.”

The healthcare sector regulator explained that the flu vaccination is available for all, with priority given to groups at high risk including the elderly, those with chronic diseases, pregnant women and children under five, as well as people working in healthcare.

According to DoH statistics, more than 150,000 people took the vaccine in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi during 2016 – 2017 flu season.

The seasonal influenza vaccine protects against common viruses that cause the flu. The yearly updated vaccine includes the three common viruses causing the flu each year. This year, the seasonal influenza vaccine protects against H1N1, H3N2 and influenza B viruses.

The DoH also stressed the importance of personal hygiene habits in reducing the spread of infectious diseases in the community. This includes covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, washing hands and using sanitizers regularly, getting rid of used tissue paper, and avoiding direct contact with sick individuals.

Mohap launches seasonal influenza awareness campaign

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap), launched an awareness campaign on seasonal flu which will run until 8th December 2017.

The campaign targets healthcare professionals in the ministry and the private sector in the Northern Emirates. It includes lectures and training on updated clinical information of the influenza virus, highlighting its risks, and ensuring the importance and effectiveness of the available vaccine.

During the campaign’s launch, Dr. Hussein Abdel-Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Under-Secretary for Health Clinics and Centres Sector at ministry, said that the initiative is in line with the ministry’s strategy to protect the community from communicable diseases and provide universal health coverage and develop the skills of healthcare workers according to the latest international guidelines and increase their knowledge with the most recent information of the disease, including symptoms, transmission, detection methods, treatment, reporting and preventive steps.

He added that raising awareness will enable the community to be conscious about the latest updates on diseases and preventative methods. The ministry will enhance awareness among the public as part of its education initiative in cooperation with the preventive medicine centres in medical districts, he continued.

Dr. Nada Al-Marzouqi, Director of Preventive Medicine Department at the ministry, said that the launch of the campaign coincided with the start of the flu season and will help raise awareness about the available vaccine.