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Posted On: 15 September 2020 09:38 pm

Why a flu shot is necessary this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 in Qatar

Nabeela
Nabeela
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The Influenza (flu) season in Qatar is just around the corner and with the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it has become even more important to get the flu shot this year. That's why the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has ordered the largest ever number of flu vaccines this year, which will be available towards the end of September at all Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) Health Centres across Qatar free of cost, and has also urged the people in Qatar to get the vaccination.

Why is it necessary to get a flu vaccine this season?

Getting a flu vaccine this year will be more important than ever, not only to reduce the risk of contracting flu but also because the last thing we need is an overburdened healthcare system with people being hospitalised because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and also because of the flu.

There is a common misconception that the flu is just a "bad cold" and nothing to worry about but Influenza is a serious condition which can cause hospitalisation if complications develop and even death.

Another thing we would want to avoid is someone getting both the flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) at the same time. At the moment, doctors are unaware of what contracting both illnesses together would mean and how harmful it may be, but just getting flu alone or coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause havoc to the body.

Why a flu shot is necessary this year amid the onging COVID-19 in Qatar

How does the vaccine work?

The flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after the vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

Will a flu vaccine provide protection against the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against the coronavirus (COVID-19), however, the flu vaccination has many other important benefits.

Why a flu shot is necessary this year amid the onging COVID-19 in Qatar

What are the benefits of a flu vaccination?

While getting a flu vaccine will not offer protection against the coronavirus (COVID-19), it does have many benefits.

Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalisation and death, and will also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, people with chronic health conditions, and pregnant women.

Where can you get the flu vaccination in Qatar?

Qatar residents can receive their free flu vaccination at all PHCC’s health centres as well as at more than 45 clinics and hospitals across Qatar.

Primary Health Centres

To make it easy for people to receive their flu vaccination, all Qatar residents with a valid health card can get their free flu vaccination at one of PHCC’s health centre in one of the following ways:

  1. During an existing appointment: If you have an existing appointment scheduled at a primary health centre you can ask the doctor for the flu vaccination and they will arrange for this to be done at the same time.
  2. Schedule an appointment specifically for your flu vaccination: To book an appointment at your registered health centre to receive your flu vaccination you can call PHCC’s customer service Hayyak on 107.

Please note that you will be asked to wait for at least 15 minutes so that the clinical team can observe any adverse vaccination reaction, as per World Health Organisation and MoPH guidelines.

A location map for each health centre can be found by clicking on the following link: https://fighttheflu.qa/EN/Where-to-get-the-flu-vaccination/Pages/default.aspx

For any inquiries related to getting your free flu vaccine at a primary health centre call Hayyak, on 107.

Semi-government and private clinics and hospitals in Qatar

You can also get flu vaccinations from a number of semi-government and private clinics and hospitals in Qatar. Click on the link for more information: https://fighttheflu.qa/EN/Where-to-get-the-flu-vaccination/Pages/default.aspx

Who should get the flu vaccination?

Why a flu shot is necessary this year amid the onging COVID-19 in Qatar
Image credit: PHCC

According to HMC and PHCC:

  • individuals who are at risk of influenza-related complications should receive the vaccination
  • children below the age of five, especially those below two years
  • individuals who are 65-years-old and above
  • individuals with chronic diseases
  • pregnant women
  • patients receiving palliative care

Who should not get the flu vaccination?

Although it is recommended that everyone get vaccinated against the flu, there are some individuals who should not try getting the vaccination. These include:

  • Babies who are below the age of six months.
  • Individuals who are allergic to the flu vaccine or any ingredient within the vaccine.

Has the flu vaccine been tested and is it safe?

All vaccines, including flu vaccines, have to be tested before they can be licensed to be used in Qatar, and they have to be licensed before they can be used. Also, remember that flu vaccines are one of the most commonly administered medicines. Like all medicines, some patients will experience side effects to the flu vaccination, but these are generally mild and usually resolve without treatment.

Have you gotten the flu vaccination yet? Will you get the vaccination? What do you think of this initiative by the government of Qatar to provide free flu vaccinations? Do let us know in our comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!