Qatar University (QU)’s assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy, Dr Zachariah Nazar, has highlighted the importance of the flu vaccine as the influenza season is coinciding with another rise in global coronavirus cases.
Medical experts are encouraging people to receive the flu vaccine early to help ensure hospital beds are kept free for Covid-19 patients. Further, recent research has revealed that people who are at higher risk of Covid-19 are also at greater risk of complications from the flu, QU has said in a statement.
According to statistics from the World Health Organisation, every year influenza kills an estimated 650,000 people globally, citing it as a top 10 leading cause of death among people of all ages, especially those with chronic conditions such as heart disease.
For these reasons, patients are being urged to adhere to advice from their health professionals and receive the flu vaccination this year to reduce the risk of influenza-like illness, especially those who fall within the high-risk groups.
Dr Nazar explained, “There is a lot of inaccurate information regarding the flu vaccine, and therefore it is important for patients to share their concerns with trained health professionals, who are best placed to provide the correct advice.”
“When individuals are vaccinated against the flu, their families and communities are also better protected,” Dr Zachariah said. “When large numbers of people within a community are vaccinated, we see that the likelihood of the virus spreading and infecting the most vulnerable patients is less. During this pandemic, it is difficult to predict how individuals will react if they get sick and therefore being vaccinated is the best prevention strategy.”
To support the public and ease any concerns, we have provided the following responses to frequently asked questions regarding the flu vaccine. This information has been sourced from reliable sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar.
Since last month, the vaccine is available for free at Primary Health Care Corporation clinics, Hamad Medical Corporation outpatient clinics (for patients attending clinic appointments) and designated private and semi-private clinics and hospitals across Qatar. More than 500,000 people will be vaccinated this season during the campaign. People can call 107 to book an appointment to receive the flu vaccine.
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