In a continuous bid to provide community members with a convenient and seamless healthcare journey, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, has released approvals for a group of pharmacies in the Emirate to administer seasonal influenza vaccines to eligible groups of the community. By allowing pharmacies to administer the vaccine, the DoH is continuing its efforts to increase the accessibility to preventive healthcare services, in order to maintain the health and safety of all community members and avoid the spread of the virus.
With several pharmacies approved to administer flu shots to date, DoH encourages members of the community to get vaccinated, as it is one of the most effective ways to prevent seasonal influenza. The Department is working closely with pharmacies in different areas of the Emirate to ensure the availability of vaccines in primary neighbourhoods. The pharmacies include Al Manara Pharmacy at YAS Mall, Al Thiqa Al Almyiah, Al Thiqa Al Dowaliah and different branches of Al Ain Pharmacy.
All individuals over the age of 18 are eligible for the influenza vaccine, which is free for Thiqa health insurance holders, health care professionals at high risk of infection, and pregnant women. Elderly people over the age of 50 years old, Haj and Umrah pilgrims.
H.E Hind Mubarak Al Zaabi, Executive Director Healthcare Facilities Sector at Department of Health– Abu Dhabi said: “At the Department of Health, our motto has always been prevention is better than cure – therefore we encourage all community members to focus on leading a healthy lifestyle complemented with preventive measures to avoid illness. Reiterating Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading destination for healthcare, DoH is committed to equipping the healthcare sector at large with all the means to provide individuals with a seamless and convenient healthcare experience in the Emirate.”
On this occasion HE Dr Farida Al Hosany the Executive Director of Infectious Disease Sector said: “The seasonal flu vaccine has been proven to be effective to prevent influenza with a high success rate. In partnership with strategic partners Abu Dhabi Public Health Center takes proactive measures to reduce the spread of influenza infections in the community, by implementing awareness and educational campaigns to raise the level of awareness of the public and health workers about the disease and the importance of vaccination. The center also has an electronic system to track influenza cases in the community. DOH adaptation of group of pharmacies to provide influenza vaccination service will extend receiving the vaccine on wider range.”
As part of its efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, DoH began to administer vaccines and offer PCR testing at pharmacies last July to ensure the availability and accessibility of healthcare solutions to all community members. The Department is calling on the public to take the seasonal influenza vaccine ahead of the onset of the winter season, starting in December, during which this type of flu becomes more contagious.
Seasonal influenza is a disease caused by influenza viruses, which mainly affect the respiratory system, specifically the nose and the pharynx. The symptoms range from mild to severe, where a majority of patients diagnosed with influenza require between a few days and up to two weeks to recover from infection. Those affected may develop exacerbated inflammation of the lungs, ear, sinuses, or general deterioration of the health. The flu may also cause severe complications in young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and individuals with chronic illnesses or weak immunity.
Vaccination is considered the most effective method of seasonal flu prevention. It protects against common viruses that cause the influenza and is updated annually to ensure continuous immunity. Individuals are protected for up to two weeks from the date of receiving the vaccination. Approximately 70,000 influenza vaccines were distributed in September and October 2022 in Abu Dhabi.
To learn more about Influenza vaccine, please visit: Seasonal Influenza (adphc.gov.ae)