The seasonal influenza vaccination is safe for pregnant women and also can help to protect both mothers and their babies aged under six months from getting the flu, an expert with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has said.
"As winter approaches it is more important than ever that they get vaccinated," urged Dr Huda Abdulla al-Saleh, senior consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and executive director of Quality & Safety at the Women Wellness and Research Center of HMC.
Though most people recover relatively quickly from flu, pregnancy can change the way the human body handles a viral infection, she pointed out.
"Flu can be very serious during pregnancy for both mothers-to-be and their babies and leaves women at higher risk of complications and, in some cases, can develop into pneumonia,” Dr al-Saleh said. "That is why we are encouraging all pregnant women to have the vaccine as soon as possible, so they are protected from flu viruses circulating this winter.”
“The influenza vaccine has been given safely to millions of pregnant women worldwide over many years. Influenza vaccinations have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives. It is also safe for women who are breastfeeding to have the vaccine.”
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) have again joined forces to offer free flu vaccines to all in Qatar. People can get the free flu vaccine at all Primary Health Care Centers, more than 40 private clinics as well as when they attend outpatients appointments at HMC.
“It’s even more critical this year because both the flu and Covid-19 can mean serious illness,” Dr al-Saleh said. “We don’t yet know what this winter holds as far as the two infections together, so we want to do everything possible to prevent both.
“While the flu and Covid-19 are two different viruses, it is important to ensure you are protected against the seasonal flu this year. Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against Covid-19; however, the flu vaccination has many other important benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses and hospitalisations.”
For more information about the flu vaccine including where you can your free flu shot, go to www.fighttheflu.qa
Last updated: November 29 2020 10:08 PM