Seasonal flu vaccination
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation, (PHCC) announced on Sunday the launch of the annual seasonal influenza vaccination campaign.
Starting Sept 18, flu vaccines will be available free of charge at 90 health facilities, including 31 PHCC Health Centers in addition to outpatient clinics at Hamad Medical Corporation and several semi-government and private hospitals and clinics across Qatar.
Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at HMC Dr Abdullatif Al Khal said it was important for people to be proactive and protect themselves against the flu as early as possible.
"The circulating flu viruses change from year to year which is why it is so important that you receive the flu vaccine annually," Dr Al Khal said.
"We need to remember that flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes, even death, and should never be underestimated.Fighting the flu starts with each and every one of us the vaccine is available at clinics across the country government, private and semi-private which makes it easier and more convenient than ever to receive the vaccine. I encourage everyone to get their free flu vaccine as soon as possible."
Director of Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control Dr Hamad Al Romaihi said while the flu is a serious illness and every one six months of age and older should take the vaccine to protect themselves, some groups are more vulnerable than others.
"People of all ages and health conditions can catch the flu virus and become sick, but there are certain key population groups who are at increased risk of the virus," Dr Al Romaihi said.
"These are people aged over 50 years; those with chronic conditions regardless of their age; children aged between six months and five years; pregnant women; and healthcare workers due to their close interaction with vulnerable patients and children," he added.
For his part, the Director of Health Protection, Preventive Health at PHCC Dr Khalid Hamid Elawad encouraged the community to take the flu vaccine as soon as possible to build immunity before the winter season hits in the coming months.
He reassured the community that they cannot get the flu from the flu shot and that the flu vaccine is one of the safest and most established vaccines, pointing out that hundreds of millions of people around the world have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years, and there has been extensive research supporting the safety of flu vaccines.