DoH calls upon the public to receive seasonal flu vaccination ahead of winter

The Department of Health Abu Dhabi, DoH, the regulator of the healthcare sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, is calling on the public to take the seasonal influenza vaccine ahead of the onset of the winter season, starting in December, during which this type of flu becomes more contagious.

Seasonal influenza is a disease caused by influenza viruses, which mainly affect the respiratory system, specifically the nose and the pharynx. The symptoms range from mild to severe, where a majority of patients diagnosed with influenza require between a few days and up to two weeks to recover from infection. Those affected may develop exacerbated inflammation of the lungs, ear, sinuses, or general deterioration of the health. The flu may also cause severe complications in young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and individuals with chronic illnesses or weak immunity.

Vaccination is considered the most effective method of seasonal flu prevention. It protects against common viruses that cause the influenza, and is updated annually to ensure continuous immunity. Individuals are protected for up to two weeks from the date of receiving the vaccination. Approximately 235,000 influenza vaccines were administered between August 1st, 2017 and June 30th, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, which indicates a significant increase in awareness of the impact of vaccinations amongst local residents.

It is recommended that individuals aged six months and above receive a single dose of vaccines annually. DoH recommends that children of age nine or below be administered two doses, with the interval between the doses being four weeks or more.

Dr Omniyat Al Hajri, Director of Public Health at the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, said, "The Department of Health strongly believes that prevention is better than cure. Thus we call upon the public to receive the vaccines provided by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company,SEHA, which are available free of charge to all residents of the emirate."

Dr Al Hajri explained that aside from vaccines, all members of the community must take preventative measures to avoid the spread of the influenza virus through basic hygiene habits. DoH encourages the public to adapt certain behaviors such as covering the mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing, washing hands thoroughly, and minimizing interactions with others while ill in order to avoid transmission of infection.

Residents can receive vaccinations at SEHA centers by calling the Customer Care Center at 80050 to book an appointment. For more information regarding SEHA centers that provide vaccination services, please visit the following link: www.haad.ae

For more information about the seasonal influenza vaccination, please visit DoH’s website: www.haad.ae

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