Schools with low vaccination rates show highest class closure rates in Qatar, according to an expert at the fourth annual meeting of GCC Center for Infection Control (IC) and SHEA/CDC Training Course which opened here yesterday.
The two day conference and three day training course, taking place in Qatar for the first time, aims at improving patient care and safety, and to strengthen co-operation.
“We have seen many classes being closed for few days since the schools began. This is because of low vaccination rates,” said Dr Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, Director, Department of Public Health, Supreme Council of Health.
“In schools with high vaccination rates, there has rarely been any situation for closures. Vaccination gives immunity and hence helps to curb the spread of flu, hence we have been asking people to get vaccinated,” he told the media.
From the first H1N1 confirmed case detected here on June 14, 643 cases including five deaths have been confirmed by the end of October. Qatar had sent Swine Flu (Influenza A, H1N1) alert on April 26, 2009 to all health facilities.
Seasonal influenza vaccination campaign which began last month has seen 44,959 students in private schools, 19,250 in Government and Independent schools and 370 in university getting the jabs.
In private schools, 4,621 staff members were vaccinated while 3,509 took the shots in Government and Independent and 400 in university. Until November 5,1730 shots were given in PHC.
Meanwhile, the H1N1 vaccination drive which started on November 3 is being administered to Haj pilgrims now. Up to 600 pilgrims have been vaccinated out of which 20 percent are Qataris.
“The seasonal flu vaccinations have ensured immunity of those who were administered and H1N1 vaccine will help reduce the disease burden. We are awaiting further delivery up to 600,000 units by the end of this month. This time it will be non-adjuvant vaccines for the children. This is merely because the next consignment is from another pharmaceutical company,” he said.
All the pilgrims can have H1N1 Vaccination at the Vaccination Section, SCH. A bag containing masks, alcohol hand rubs, gloves and information leaflets are also being distributed among pilgrims.
Qatar has also enough Tamiflu supplies sufficient for all Haj pilgrims to help reduce the burden on the Saudi government.
Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, Managing Director of HMC, opened the conference, attended by 500 international delegations and representatives from international organisations dealing with Infection Control like Gulf Center for Infection Control of King Abdul Aziz Medical City, Riyadh; Center and Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA; World Health Organization (WHO) and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
The annual conference comes at a time when the world is facing a pandemic and many anti-microbial agents are failing.
The conference is set to be addressed by more than 20 renowned medical experts and specialists. Continuous medical education shall also be provided through a series of symposiums, workshops and discussions to be organised from the opening day. More than 300 experts will participate in the training programme.
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