Citizens and residents should get the free vaccine as soon as possible to protect themselves against the flu

The flu virus can cause serious illness and lead to hospitalisation and even death – with more than 500 people being hospitalised due to the flu each year, warned an expert from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

According to HMC Communicable Disease Center Medical Director Dr Muna Al Maslamani, the flu is not just a bad cold – it’s a serious illness. She said that flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. More than 500 people are hospitalised in Qatar each year due to flu and its complications, and between eight and 12 patients die every year because of influenza.

The flu vaccine was being offered earlier this year so that members of the community can build immunity ahead of this year’s flu season.

We are already seeing a significant number of people presenting at medical facilities with the flu, we have decided to take a proactive approach and offer the vaccine earlier than usual. This is why you should get the flu vaccine as early as possible – it takes up to two weeks for the body to develop immunity against the virus.

She said that even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others – therefore it is important to take all measures to protect yourself and your family.

In addition to getting the free flu vaccine,  it is also recommended that you take everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.

Dr Al Maslamani said that the flu vaccine has been made available at 28 primary healthcare centres and over 40 private and semi-government clinics.

Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalisations and deaths. Everyone aged six months and above should get the flu vaccine, especially those in high-risk groups such as pregnant women, people aged over 50, people with chronic conditions and young children.

To reduce the spread of influenza and the risk of serious complications, and help protect the most vulnerable in our communities, it is more important than ever to ensure that you are vaccinated this year.

More details about the flu and COVID-19, including information on where to get the flu vaccine in Qatar, can be found on fighttheflu.qa.


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