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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Abu Dhabi residents urged to get seasonal flu vaccine

Department of Health makes available for all, with priority given to elderly

The Department of Health, the regulator of the healthcare sector in Abu Dhabi, is urging citizens and residents to immediately take the seasonal influenza vaccine.

The call aims to sustain one of the strongest health tool kits in the world, which is the use of vaccines to protect people of all age groups from infectious diseases.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, the department's director of communicable diseases, said: "This is part of our drive to protect the health of our people. Vaccines are the most effective tool for cutting on infectious diseases like seasonal influenza, hence preserving public health and protecting lives.

"We urge all residents to take the flu vaccine to protect their health and to stop the spread of this infectious disease."

The department said that the flu vaccination is available for all, with priority given to groups at high risk including the elderly, those with chronic diseases, pregnant women and children under five, as well as healthcare professionals.

The seasonal influenza vaccines became part the national immunisation programme in 2016.

According to the department's statistics, more than 150,000 people took the vaccine inAbu Dhabi during 2016 – 2017 flu season.

Influenza viruses cause seasonal influenza, also known as the flu. It affects the respiratory system, mainly the nose and throat. The effect of seasonal influenza can vary from mild to severe symptoms.

The seasonal influenza vaccine protects against common viruses that cause the flu. The yearly updated vaccine includes the three common viruses causing the flu each year. This year, the seasonal influenza vaccine protects against H1N1, H3N2 and influenza B viruses.

The department introduced several vaccination programs targeting various age groups from infants up to adults and elderly. These include flu vaccination, childhood vaccination, school vaccination, Hajj and Umra vaccination, adult vaccination and traveller vaccination. The service is available in most healthcare facilities and clinics in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.