People can get the influenza vaccine for free at primary health centres, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) outpatient clinics, and at more than 40 private and semi-private clinics and hospitals across Qatar.
Head of Vaccination at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) Dr. Soha Al Bayat has said the procedure to get the flu vaccine has been made easy and convenient for the public.
“Facilitating people to get the flu vaccine easily, it is made available at government, semi governmental and private health care facilities. People seeking to get the flu vaccine can walk into their health centres without a prior appointment. Dedicated counters have been allocated at health centres and the entire process does not take more than 15 minutes,” Dr. Al Bayat said in a TV programme.
The Ministry, HMC and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) launched the annual seasonal influenza vaccination campaign recently.
The circulating flu viruses change from year to year which is why it is important to receive the flu vaccine annually. Flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes even death, and should never be underestimated.
According to Dr. Al Bayat, the annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best and safest way to reduce the chances of catching the flu and potentially spreading it to others.
Dr. Al Bayat explained that maximum protection against the flu takes up to two weeks to develop after vaccination, so the sooner people get vaccinated, the sooner they will be protected.
“The immunity level will stay for nine months and it will start to reduce,” she said. Flu is a serious illness and everyone aged 6 months or above should take the vaccine to protect themselves. Some groups are more vulnerable than others. People of all ages and health conditions can get the flu and become sick, but there are certain key population groups who are at increased risk, according to Dr. Al Bayat.
“These are people aged over 50 years; those with chronic conditions regardless of their age; children aged between six months and five years; pregnant women; and healthcare workers and teachers, due to their close interaction with vulnerable patients and children,” she said.