In the first 50 days of the annual vaccination campaign against winter diseases, the country has experienced a notable surge in demand for vaccinations against seasonal influenza and bacterial pneumonia. Informed sources disclosed to Al-Seyassah that approximately 105,000 individuals, comprising 77,000 citizens and residents, have received vaccinations at Preventive Health Centers affiliated with the Ministry of Health.

Additionally, about 15,000 expatriates underwent vaccination while completing the necessary procedures at examination centers. Of the vaccinated individuals, around 13,000 have received protection against pneumococcal bacterial pneumonia since the campaign’s launch at the end of last September. Noteworthy is the fact that the pneumonia vaccination, administered once for individuals aged three and above, became part of Kuwait’s routine vaccination schedule for children in 2017.

The breakdown of vaccination recipients reveals that 30% are Ministry of Health employees, diabetics, and individuals over 50 years old. Another 30% comprises patients with heart and respiratory conditions and smokers, and the remaining 40% includes individuals with obesity, kidney and neurological diseases, liver patients, teenagers, children, pregnant women, and others. The increased awareness of vaccination importance, particularly post the COVID-19 pandemic, and the expansion of preventive health centers from 46 to 50 this year contribute to the heightened demand for influenza vaccination. The sources emphasized the intensified awareness campaigns focused on the significance of vaccination in reducing infection complications and side effects.

This year, an estimated 300,000 vaccine doses have been made available across all vaccination centers in Kuwait, with assurances of the safety of the vaccination and its efficacy in reducing the likelihood of infection with seasonal influenza virus strains. According to the World Health Organization, global statistics indicate that seasonal influenza infects approximately one billion people annually, resulting in 3 to 5 million severe cases and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths related to respiratory diseases.

Highlighted risk categories for vaccination include:
■ Pregnant women
■ Children under five years
■ Seniors over 60 years of age
■ Individuals with chronic medical conditions (heart, lung, kidney, metabolic, neurodevelopmental, liver, or blood diseases)
■ Those with immune deficiency conditions (HIV, individuals receiving chemotherapy, steroids, malignant tumors)
■ Health workers.

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