The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has reminded the public that this year is more important than ever to get the flu vaccination, especially for children.
“Children are more susceptible to flu. Protect your children from getting the virus, and spreading it. Get them vaccinated,” said National head for Children and Adolescent Health Strategy, Dr. Sadriya Alkohji.
“This year is more important than ever to get flu vaccination due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Changing seasons and kids interacting with each other in school may lead to spread of seasonal flu during the coming months,” she said in a video message posted by the Ministry on its social media accounts.
Dr. Alkohji urged parents to take an appointment for children at any of Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC)’s health centre to receive the free flu vaccination.
Influenza is a highly infectious acute respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Influenza affects people of all ages. Flu spreads rapidly and outbreaks of influenza occur almost every year, usually in winter. This is why it is also known as seasonal flu.
According to Dr. Alkohji, children of ages below 5 years, especially those who are under 2 years are most vulnerable to more complications due to the flu.
“Vaccinate your children against the flu to prevent from getting serious symptoms and spreading the virus among others. Studies reveal that flu vaccination leads to reducing the risk of flu infections, visit to hospital and absentee from schools,” she said.
The flu vaccination campaign is a joint initiative of the Ministry, and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
The vaccine is available for free across all PHCC’s health centers, HMC (for patients attending clinic appointments) and at more than 50 private clinics and hospitals as well as and semi-governmental health care facilities.
The Ministry recommends a flu vaccine by the end of October, before flu begins spreading in the community. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into later, officials said during the launch of the flu vaccination campaign.
The World Health Organisation has urged global widespread flu vaccinations this year, amid concerns the same people who are most vulnerable to severe symptoms from COVID-19, such as those aged over 50 and those with chronic health conditions regardless of their age are also at greatest risk from the flu and its complications.
Also it was recommended for children aged between six months and five years of age and pregnant women to be vaccinated against the seasonal flu.