With winter just around the corner, health officials have asked residents to take the flu shot to reduce disease complications resulting from common viruses.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) on Monday officially launched its annual National Seasonal Flu Awareness Campaign under the theme “Protect yourself… Protect your community” to promote community awareness on getting vaccinated against seasonal flu, enhance disease prevention and reduce flu complications as well as educate healthcare workers on best global practices.
The campaign will run until December.
Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector at the ministry said: “We look forward to improving the national health system’s response to respiratory infections and increasing surveillance systems to upgrade the outcomes of strategic indicators for vaccine coverage ratio according to international standards.”
Highlights of the campaign:
- The flu season in the UAE starts as winter sets in from October and ends in spring in March.
- The flu shot is free of cost for citizens and is available at all primary healthcare centres across the emirates. It costs Dh50 for expatriates at the government centres. In private healthcare facilities, the price ranges between Dh100 to Dh120.
- The campaign targets all members of society, with priority given to the elderly, people aged 50+ years, children under five years of age, pregnant women, and people with chronic diseases.
- Anyone above six months is eligible for the vaccine, with the body taking up to two weeks to obtain immunity.
- Health workers, especially those in the first line of defence, in emergency departments, outpatient clinics, primary health care centers and intensive care units have been urged to take the vaccine to reduce the chances of transmitting the disease to patients and family members.
- The campaign has been launched in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Centre for Public Health, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), and Emirates Health Services.
- Seasonal flu shots has proven to be safe and effective in preventing influenza infection for over 60 years
- Health authorities say the vaccine decreases the risk of hospitalization, lessens illness complications, and provides protection against widespread infections.
- Heightened awareness as well as the regular use of masks and proper hand hygiene, has considerably reduced the incidences of flu in the emirates.
- Seasonal influenza (flu) is highly contagious and spreads by when infected people cough, sneeze or talk. The flu can also be caught by touching a surface or object contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Preventable measures that can be taken to reduce the spread of flu viruses include covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing, 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.
- Influenza (flu) and Covid-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Covid-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus first identified in 2019, and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.
- Compared to flu, Covid-19 can cause more serious illnesses in some people. Covid-19 can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer.
- Because some of the symptoms of flu, Covid-19, and other respiratory illnesses are similar, the difference between them cannot be made based on symptoms alone. Testing is needed to tell what the illness is and to confirm a diagnosis.
- It is safe to take the flu shot alongside the Covid vaccine because both have different compositions.