Qatar launches annual flu vaccination campaign
With the flu season expected to start early this year, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) have announced the start of the annual anti-flu vaccination drive from today.
As part of the campaign, free flu vaccines will be provided to citizens and residents of Qatar at all primary health centers, HMC outpatient clinics, and over 45 private and semi-private clinics and hospitals across the country.
Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at HMC Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal highlighted that the annual campaign against flu is usually launched at the end of September every year. However, a significant number of people are coming to medical facilities with the flu.
In this light, “we have decided to take a proactive approach and commence the campaign several weeks earlier,” Dr Al Khal said.
"With COVID-19 still a threat to our health, it’s very important that people take every possible step to protect themselves, their families and friends from the flu,” he added.
Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses and lead to similar symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses, Dr Al Khal explained.
He said that it is essential that people understand that the flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine does not protect you from flu.
“For this reason, we strongly urge people to receive both vaccines. People can receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time, or within a short period of time before or after each other. Clinical studies have shown that this is safe, and does not affect the efficacy of either vaccine," Dr Al Khal underlined.
MOPH announced that the annual seasonal influenza vaccination campaign will begin with free flu vaccines available at all primary health centers and HMC outpatient clinics. #QNA https://t.co/MC7u0Vv8WN pic.twitter.com/dFMoTPbUWI— Qatar News Agency (@QNAEnglish) September 1, 2021
The first phase of the flu vaccination campaign will focus on key priority groups, which include people most at risk of severe infection from flu.
Manager, Health Protection and Communicable Diseases at MOPH Dr Hamad Al Romaihi, said, "While people of all ages and health conditions can get the flu and become sick, there are certain key population groups who are at increased risk.
“For this reason, it is important that we prioritize these groups and ensure they are vaccinated against seasonal influenza first.”
The priority groups 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 and teachers, due to their close interaction with vulnerable patients and children, Dr Al Romaihi explained.
Make sure to check out our social media to keep track of the latest content.
Instagram - @qatarliving
Twitter - @qatarliving
Facebook - Qatar Living
YouTube - qatarlivingofficial