Abu Dhabi

Get vaccinated for influenza, UAE authority urges

Ashwani Kumar/Abu Dhabi
Filed on November 6, 2019 | Last updated on November 6, 2019 at 05.21 pm
flu vaccine, influenza, Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, ADPHC


Around 350,000 people were vaccinated during the previous season.

The Abu Dhabi Public Health Center (ADPHC) has urged people to take the seasonal influenza vaccine available free of charge at healthcare facilities under Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA).

Taking the flu vaccine annually reduces the chances of catching the flu and infecting others. Every flu season is different and many people can be infected. During the previous flu season 2018-2019, around 350,000 people were vaccinated (double the previous season) from different age groups at healthcare facilities as well as in vaccination campaigns carried out by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi in collaboration with SEHA at workplaces and shopping malls.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, manager of Communicable Disease Department at ADPHC, said: "Several measures are being taken by the ADPHC to reduce the spread of influenza infection in the community. To that end, we ensure that the vaccine is available at earliest possible, implement different activities to educate and raise awareness among public and healthcare workers. We also have an electronic notification system for infectious diseases, including influenza. This system allows tracking the cases and making the appropriate intervention."

Some groups are considered at higher risks of developing complications such as children below five years, pregnant women, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions or weak immunity.

"We urge people from the age of six months and above to take seasonal influenza vaccine. It is important to take the vaccine as soon as possible, as the body needs up to two weeks to develop immunity. Statistics in the emirate of Abu Dhabi showed that the highest number of cases occurred in November and it remain high until April."

Preventable measures

Seasonal influenza is a highly contagious disease. It spreads mainly by droplets made by infected persons when they cough, sneeze, or talk. The flu virus can be caught from touching a surface or object contaminated with the virus, and then to your mouth, nose or eyes.

Apart from vaccines, some other preventable measures that can be done to reduce the spread of flu viruses include covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing to reduce the spread of flu viruses, regular hand washing with water and soap, and sanitation, as well as cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs that cause flu.

The ADPHC is an independent legal entity formed earlier in May and follows the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi.

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