Get vaccinated against seasonal flu, urges UAE ministry
Officials urged the public to take the flu vaccine shots available free of cost for Emiratis.
With the weather change around the corner, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has asked people to take steps against the seasonal flu.
On Wednesday, the ministry launched the 'National Seasonal Flu Awareness Campaign' in collaboration with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH) and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
The campaign will continue until the end of December. "The ministry's strategy is to develop ways to protect the UAE's health system from infectious diseases," said Dr Hussein Abdul Rahman Rand, assistant undersecretary for health centres and clinics at the ministry.
Officials urged the public to take the flu vaccine shots available free of cost for Emiratis. For expats, it is available for between Dh50 and Dh60 at its 76 primary healthcare centres. "We want to promote public health through a sustained programme that raises awareness on importance of vaccination in reducing and preventing the transmission of infections," said Dr Rand.
He also said that knowing the disease, its causes, symptoms and ways of prevention is key to prevent the spread of infection.
The ministry has also set up an infection surveillance system, which is an early warning mechanism for surveillance of infectious diseases, especially influenza, which provides data for early detection of diseases. The campaign aims at increasing the rate of vaccination among community groups that are at higher risk to exposure.
"The number of flu cases is high each year though we have no statistics," said Dr Nada Marzouqi, director of the department of preventive medicine. She reminded the public on taking the vaccine as one of the most effective medical interventions for the prevention of vaccine-targeted diseases.
"The vaccine does not prevent the flu from happening but prevents the complications, especially for the high risk group that includes children under five, the elderly, pregnant women and those suffering from chronic diseases," she said.
"We recommend that seasonal influenza vaccine be taken for healthcare workers, especially in emergency departments, outpatient clinics, primary healthcare centres and intensive care units to reduce the chances of transmitting the disease to the visitors and family members," she added.
Dr Badria Al Haremi, director of public health protection department at the DHA, said that the flu is considered to be a seasonal disease that differs in terms of severity, depending on the immunity of the infected people.
Al Haremi stressed on the importance of the flu vaccine, which is considered to be the best method of prevention, pointing out that it is given to all ages starting at the age of six months.
Officials urged the public to take the flu vaccine shots available free of cost for Emiratis while expats can have it at its 76 primary healthcare centres spending around Dh60.
KT NANO EDIT
Prevention is always better
We often underestimate the power of preventive vaccination, and consequently succumb to diseases, particularly the seasonal ones. The health authorities in the UAE have been proactive in building an inventory of drugs that can shield us from infections and diseases. Residents would do well to take medical advice and benefit from this campaign. A shot in time can certainly save a lot of time from being sick and making trips to a doctor.
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