UAE: Leave gap of three weeks between flu shot and Covid vaccine, says top official


Dubai - Free influenza vaccines will be provided to high risk individuals


Saman Haziq

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Published: Tue 21 Sep 2021, 3:32 AM

A UAE health official on Monday urged residents to get both the Covid vaccine and a flu shot — but there should be a gap of at least three weeks between jabs.

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Though it’s vital to take both vaccines — especially as the flu season sets in — they are completely different in terms of composition, said Dr Farida Al Hosani, executive director of the infection diseases sector at the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre.

“The flu vaccine has inactivated particles of the influenza virus, whereas Covid vaccines have different manufacturing methods based on the company making it, and have components of Covid-19. We urge the community to get both vaccinations at the earliest after the recommended gap of three weeks,” she explained.

Dr Al Hosani spoke at the launch of the annual National Seasonal Flu Awareness Campaign, which is promoted by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) to raise the community’s awareness of the importance of vaccination.

Seasonal flu is a transmissible disease, usually seen in the UAE during the winter months, from October to April. It is categorised in three types: A, B and C.

“The flu vaccine is updated on a yearly basis to protect against the virus that mutates frequently. A new vaccine is developed each year to tackle the most recent strain recorded globally,” said Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, director of Preventive Medicine Department at Mohap.

A quadrivalent vaccine has been developed and is now available at all primary health centres, private clinics and hospitals in the UAE, Dr Al Marzouqi added. “However, it will not be available at dedicated Covid-19 treatment centres.”

All Emiratis and those considered vulnerable will be able to get the vaccine for free. Others can get the jab at Dh50 across government health centres and private hospitals in the country.


>> Why you need to get a flu shot amid Covid-19 pandemic, Dubai experts explain

>> How can I tell the difference between the flu and Covid-19?

Flu spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks, sending droplets of the virus into the air. Other methods of transmission include touching surfaces or materials contaminated with the virus, and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes.

Every year, nearly 500,000 people worldwide suffer flu complications and die, so the virus should not be taken lightly, said Dr Hussein Abdul Rahman Al Rand, undersecretary of Mohap’s health assistant sector, health centres and clinics.

Dr Hend Al Awadhi, head of the health promotion and education section of the Dubai Health Authority, added: “We last recorded a significant drop in influenza cases last year...thanks to the community’s compliance with the measures laid down due to the Covid scare and also because of the effective flu vaccination awareness that prompted more people to come forward and take the jab. The public has been taking precautions such as wearing face masks and maintaining social distance.”

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