* 'Unprecedented demand' as more than twice as many people have been vaccinated so far compared to same period last year
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has announced that more than 130,000 people have received the free flu vaccine since the launch of the seasonal influenza campaign in mid-October, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reports.
More than twice as many people have been vaccinated so far compared to the same period last year, according to the MoPH.
The free flu vaccine is available at all Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) clinics, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) outpatient clinics (for patients with existing appointments) and designated private and semi-private clinics and hospitals across Qatar.
"The demand we have seen so far this year for the flu vaccine is unprecedented. Throughout November, between 3,500 and 4,000 people a day have been requesting for and receiving their free flu vaccination across the healthcare system, which is more than twice as many as November 2019. It is clear that people have understood the extra importance of protecting themselves and their families amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic," said Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of the National Health Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of the Infectious Diseases Division at HMC.
"Seasonal influenza and Covid-19 are two different viruses and the flu vaccine will not prevent people from getting Covid-19, but the same people who are at the highest risk of severe symptoms from Covid-19, such as the elderly and those with chronic conditions, are also at greatest risk from the flu. Therefore, it is more important than ever that people receive their flu vaccination this year," added Dr al-Khal.
This year's seasonal influenza campaign is a joint initiative of the MoPH, PHCC and HMC, and includes the support of private and semi-private clinics and hospitals across Qatar.
Dr Hamad al-Romaihi, manager, Health Protection and Communicable Diseases at MoPH, explained: "With all primary health centres and more than 50 private medical centres providing the flu vaccine free of charge, it's never been easier to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu.
"The high demand for the flu vaccine so far this year is very encouraging, but I urge people who have not yet received their vaccine to do so as soon as possible, as the vaccine can take around two weeks for the antibodies to develop and provide protection."
More information, including where to get the flu vaccine in Qatar and FAQs about the flu and Covid-19, can be found on the campaign website - https://fighttheflu.qa/EN/Pages/default.aspx
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