MoPH’s Fight the Flu campaign to cover 200,000 residents through 50 health centres/clinics. a joint initiative by the MoPH, PHCC, and HMC.

Fight the Flu | MoPH’s “Fight the Flu” campaign to cover 200,000 residents through 50 health centres/clinics

DOHA: About 200,000 people are expected to be covered under the national influenza “FIGHT THE FLU” vaccination campaign launched recently in a joint initiative by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

Running into the 5th year of the influenza campaign, MoPH has published a list of over 50 governmental, semi-governmental and private clinics offering free vaccine in the country on its twitter account.

Apart from the PHCC health centres and HMC, there are three governmental facilities, six semi-government facilities, and 43 private clinics ensuring easy access for everyone to the vaccine.

MOI – Medical Services Department, Qatar Armed Forces Medical Speciality Centre, and Lekhwiya are the three governmental facilities.

Meanwhile, semi-governmental facilities include Sidra Medical, Qatar Red Crescent, Qatar Petroleum health services, Qatar Gas – Al Khor Community Medical Center, Qatar Foundation Primary health care center, Qatar Orthopaedic, and Sports Medicine Hospital / Aspetar.

With an imminent change in weather and the risk of influenza (flu) spreading quicker this year, health authorities have acted earlier, based on initial laboratory data and urged the public to take precautionary measures at soon as possible.

The theme of “Fight the Flu” vaccine campaign this year is to make the influenza vaccine easily accessible to everyone again and through this initiative, MoPH is building a strong partnership with private healthcare providers to increase levels of immunisation against the flu.

This year’s flu is expected to be more severe than the previous year and the flu campaign aims to reach out to a good section of the public as early as possible,” according to Dr. Abdullatif al-Khal, HMC’s deputy chief medical officer and head of Infectious Diseases and co-chair of the National Pandemic Preparedness Committee.

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.

Based on last year’s experience, health authorities have ordered more doses due to an increase in the demand, in fact, the new vaccine is much more effective than previous ones.

Flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes, even death. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk for the flu and its complications,” explained Dr al-Khal.

High-risk people include elderly people above the age of 65, young children below five, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions. Moreover, the side effects of flu vaccination are practically nil and the maximum side effects can be some simple soreness where the vaccine is administered.

“With flu vaccination, it is also essential to practise good hygiene by properly and frequently washing hands and protecting others from coughs and sneezes. Coughing or sneezing into a tissue paper or an elbow can help prevent the spread of seasonal influenza. People who have flu-like symptoms should stay at home to avoid infecting others,” Dr Khalid Hamid Elawad, manager, Health Protection, Preventive Health Directorate at PHCC said.

Special arrangements have been made for vaccination for the public, especially employees of ministries and other companies. If ministries and companies want their employees to be vaccinated at their work site, MoPH will be able to send trained healthcare staff to their place for vaccination.

Thousands of staff across the Qatar healthcare system have already received the vaccine in readiness for the season.

The flu season typically starts in October and goes on until April.

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