Threefold rise in flu spread this year
December 10 2018 09:11 PM
Dr Abdullatif al-Khal
Dr Abdullatif al-Khal

Recent national data on this year’s seasonal influenza virus shows three times as many people have tested positive for the flu in October and November, compared to the same period in 2017. 

“To date, more than 75,000 people have been vaccinated against the flu. This is very encouraging, but with the severity of this year’s flu virus being clear for us, we urge even more people to get their free vaccine,” explained Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) deputy chief medical officer and head of infectious diseases. 
“Throughout October and November more than 6,800 respiratory samples tested positive for the flu virus. During the same period in 2017, there were only 2,274 positive tests, so it is clear that seasonal influenza is posing a greater threat to the health of people in Qatar this year, and it is expected to get worse during December and January,” said Dr al-Khal. 
At the start of October, the Ministry of Public Health, Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), and HMC joined forces to launch a national campaign to provide free flu vaccines to the public in Qatar. 
To ensure as many people as possible are vaccinated this year, members of the public can get the influenza vaccine for free at all PHCC health centres across the country, as well as at more than 35 private clinics. 
“Primary Health Care Corporation is committed to protecting the health of Qatar’s population and providing the flu vaccine free to all Qatar’s residents with a valid health card is just one way in which we can do this,’’ said Dr Khalid Hamid Elawad, health protection manager, Preventive Health Department at PHCC. 
“Across our 26 health centres, we are currently vaccinating around 4,000 people a week against seasonal influenza. There are three simple ways to receive your flu vaccine from the health center you are registered at: you can ask for the vaccine during an existing appointment, schedule a flu vaccination appointment by calling PHCC on 107, or simply drop in to your health centre without an appointment and receive your vaccine swiftly,’’ added Dr Elawad.



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