The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has stressed that as the winter approaches, it is more important than ever for people to get the flu vaccine.
The seasonal influenza campaign was launched in mid-October. The free flu vaccine is available at all Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) clinics, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) outpatient clinics (for patients with existing appointments) and designated private, semi-private clinics and hospitals across Qatar.
Through an advisory on social media yesterday, the MoPH highlighted the similarities between the flu and Covid-19. These are:
* One can be infected with either the flu or Covid-19 and not show any symptoms but still be contagious
* There is no treatment for Covid-19 or the flu - both are treated by addressing the symptoms, such as reducing fever
* For both Covid-19 and flu, severe cases may require hospitalisation and very ill patients may need a ventilator
* Both can be prevented by mask-wearing, frequent and thorough hand washing, coughing into the crook of the elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected.
"It's more important than ever to get your free seasonal flu vaccine this year," the advisory reiterated. One can go to www.fighttheflu.qa for more information.
The PHCC recently called on parents and guardians to vaccinate their children against the seasonal influenza as part of the national campaign for free vaccination.
Director of Health Protection (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.
Also, an expert with HMC recently stressed that the flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women and can help protect both mothers and their babies aged under six months from getting the flu.
"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,” said 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.
“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,” she added.