The Department of Health (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector, urged all citizens and residents to take the seasonal influenza vaccine from now.
The call aims to sustain one of the strongest health toolkits in the world, which is the use of vaccines to protect people of all age groups from infectious diseases.
Dr. Farida Al Hosani, Director of Communicable Diseases Department at DoH, said: “This is part of our drive to protect the health of our people. Vaccines are the most effective tool for cutting on infectious diseases like seasonal influenza, hence preserving public health and protecting lives. We urge all residents to take the flu vaccine to protect their health and to stop the spread of this infectious disease.”
DoH explained that the flu vaccination is available for all, with priority given to groups at high risk including the elderly, those with chronic diseases, pregnant women and children under five, as well as people working in healthcare.
The seasonal influenza vaccines became part the national immunization program in 2016. According to DoH statistics, more than 150,000 people took the vaccine in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi during 2016 – 2017 flu season.
Influenza viruses cause seasonal influenza, also known as the flu. It affects the respiratory system, mainly the nose and throat. The effect of seasonal influenza can vary from mild to severe symptoms.
The seasonal influenza vaccine protects against common viruses that cause the flu. The yearly updated vaccine includes the three common viruses causing the flu each year. This year, the seasonal influenza vaccine protects against H1N1, H3N2 and influenza B viruses.
DoH is directing all UAE nationals and residents to all healthcare clinics under the Ambulatory Health Services – SEHA to get the seasonal influenza vaccine for free, to know these clinics or to book an appointment, please visit www.haad.ae/flu_en or call 80050.
The DoH also stressed the importance of personal hygiene habits in reducing the spread of infectious diseases in the community. This includes covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, washing hands and using sanitizers regularly, getting rid of used tissue paper, and avoiding direct contact with sick individuals.
DoH introduced several vaccination programs targeting various age groups from infants up to adults and elderly. These include flu vaccination, childhood vaccination, school vaccination, Hajj and Umra vaccination, adult vaccination and traveler vaccination. The vaccination service is available in most healthcare facilities and clinics in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.