HAAD launches adult vaccination campaign

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HAAD launches adult vaccination  campaign

Adults above 65 and those who have diabetes or any immunity-reducing illnesses should be vaccinated against the seasonal influenza (flu) and pneumococcal diseases, urged the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD).

By Olivia Olarte – Ulherr

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Published: Mon 30 Jul 2012, 11:28 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:18 PM

Pneumococcal is a group of diseases caused by bacteria that affect different parts of the body such as the lining of the brain (meningitis), lungs (pneumonia) or blood (septicaemia).

In an effort to make people aware of the importance of adult vaccination, the HAAD launched on Monday its ‘Adult Vaccination Campaign’.

“Adult vaccines are as important as childhood vaccines because as people get older, they are more prone to get serious infectious diseases. Most adults didn’t receive vaccination during their childhood, new vaccines are coming and recommended to be given to adults and some vaccines require additional doses to strengthen immunity,” said Dr Farida Al Hosani, Manager of Communicable Disease at the HAAD.

In addition to the high-risk group, the campaign also targets the unvaccinated adults and healthcare professionals, Haj and Umrah pilgrims, and travellers to endemic areas to get them inoculated against the appropriate diseases.

“Adults with chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, kidney disease and liver disease should get vaccinated against pneumococcal diseases and seasonal influenza,” said Dr Badreyya Al Shehhi, Senior Officer, Vaccines, Communicable Diseases at the HAAD.

A single dose is required every year for seasonal influenza while a single dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is needed every five years.

“We also ask travellers to countries where some infectious diseases like meningitis and yellow fever are common to be vaccinated against them. All healthcare workers need to be vaccinated against certain disease like seasonal influenza, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox,” she added.

Despite the vaccines being available in the UAE, Dr Omniyat Al Hajri, Director of Public Health and Policy at the HAAD, said that adult vaccination is a “limited practice” with doctors prescribing them to patients who need it only at that time.

“What we are really missing is public awareness of the importance of vaccination at certain stages. We miss opportunities where we can actually protect people, reduce morbidity and save lives,” she pointed out. Starting August 5, the seasonal influenza and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines will be available at all 32 primary healthcare centres of Seha’s Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS).

Dr Al Hosani said all 14 vaccines will be given free-of-charge for adults who are at high risk of contracting infectious diseases and developing related complications, both Emiratis and expatriates.

Other vaccines will also be available at government hospitals including Mafraq Hospital, Shaikh Khalifa Medical City and Tawam Hospital.

Dr Al Hosani advised residents to consult with their physicians who would advise them of the type of vaccine they may require.

A circular in this regard containing the vaccination schedule for high-risk adults was circulated by the HAAD to all healthcare facilities on July 27.


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