The Primary Health Care Corp (PHCC) has called on parents and guardians to vaccinate their children against seasonal influenza, as part of the national campaign for free vaccination that was launched by the Ministry of Public Health in mid-October in co-operation with the Hamad Medical Corp (HMC) and PHCC.
Director of Health Protection at the Preventive Health at PHCC Dr Khalid al-Awad said children under the age of five years (especially those under two) are considered more vulnerable to serious complications due to seasonal influenza, so this group must be vaccinated against influenza in particular.
The seasonal flu vaccine not only protects children from influenza and its dangerous consequences, but also helps to limit its spread to others in the community.
Dr al-Awad stressed that getting vaccination against seasonal influenza this year is more important than ever due to the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that the seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against the Covid-19 virus, but it could reduce the risk of seasonal influenza and its related complications.
In addition, it reduces the possibility of infection with both influenza and Covid-19 viruses at the same time.
Research has shown that vaccination against seasonal influenza, decreases the risk of getting the flu, visits to the doctor, along with the number of days having to miss work and school, and the risk of children being admitted to hospital due to influenza also decreases.
Dr al-Awad pointed out that every child over six months of age needs to be vaccinated against influenza, as the only way to ensure the safety of infants (less than six months who are not eligible for the vaccine) is to vaccinate everyone at home, along with caregivers.
Everyone can obtain free flu vaccination in any of the health centres of PHCC, in some quasi-governmental medical institutions and some private health institutions, and people who have a current appointment in a health centre can ask their doctor to get the flu vaccination during medical examination, while others can come without prior appointment to the health centre in which they are registered to receive the flu vaccination immediately.
The PHCC has also launched a mobile vaccination unit to provide easy and fast access to vaccines, as the vaccination units move between several health centres seven days a week from Saturday to Thursday (7am to 2pm and 4-10pm), while the unit operates on Friday in the evening only from 4-10pm.
The vaccination unit moves between eight health centres, Mesaimeer, West Bay, Khalifa City, Al Wakra, Abu Bakr Al Siddiq, Al Rayyan, Al Sheehaniya and Al Matar.