Doha, 15 December, 2021: As Qatar heads into the cooler months, health experts are urging everyone aged over six months to protect themselves against the flu with the annual flu vaccine.
There is a common misconception that the flu is just a "bad cold" and nothing to worry about but Influenza is a serious condition which can cause hospitalization if complications develop and even death.
Dr. Hamad Al Romaihi, Manager, Health Protection and Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) said anyone can become sick from the flu which affects hundreds of thousands of people annually in the region.
“Flu is highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. Annual flu shots are a crucial part of protecting not only your health but the health of those around you,” Dr. Al Romaihi said. “Getting the flu vaccine is especially important as we head into the cooler months in Qatar. Influenza viruses typically spread in autumn and winter, with activity peaking between December and February.
“The end of the year is also a time that many people travel and this also highlights the need to be protected. It takes about two weeks for the body to build immunity after getting the flu shot and we urge everyone over the age of six months to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible.
“For high-risk groups, influenza can cause severe illness or even death in some cases. For this reason, is highly recommended to take the flu vaccine every year in order to stay safe during the winter season.”
Symptoms of the flu include sudden onset of fever, cough, headache muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose. Although most people recover from fever and other symptoms within a week, the cough can be severe and last up to two or more weeks.
Dr. Khalid Hamid Elawad, Manager, Health Protection, Preventive Health Directorate at Primary Heath Care Corporation (PHCC) said accessing the free flu vaccines in Qatar is extremely convenient.
“To protect yourself you have to take influenza vaccine annually as the viruses changes. And to make it easily accessible for all in the state of Qatar, it’s been made available in all primary healthcare centers and more than 40 private clinics and semi-government clinics for free for all,” he said.
“If you have an existing appointment scheduled at a primary health center, including for your COVID-19 booster, you can ask the doctor for the flu vaccination and they will arrange for this to be done at the same time.”
To book an appointment at your registered health center to receive your flu vaccination you can call PHCC’s customer service Hayyak on 107. You can go to www.fighttheflu.qa for more information.