UAE: Leave gap of three weeks between flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine, says top official

Free influenza vaccines will be provided to high risk individuals

  

The minimum duration between taking a Covid vaccine and a seasonal influenza (cold and flu) vaccine should be at least three weeks, a health official said on Monday.

Though it’s vital to take both vaccines, Dr Farida Al Hosani, executive director of Infection Diseases Sector in the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, said the two are completely different in terms of composition.

“Influenza vaccine has inactivated particles of the influenza virus, whereas Covid vaccines have different manufacturing methods based on the company making it and have components of Covid-19. We urge the community to get both the vaccinations at the earliest after giving the recommended gap of three weeks,” she said.

Dr Farida spoke at the launch of the annual National Seasonal Flue Awareness Campaign 2021 drive, which is promoted by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) under the slogan ‘Protect Yourself... Protect Your Community’.

Seasonal flu is a rapidly transmissible disease and the onset of the disease is seen more during winter months beginning from October to April in the UAE.

The virus spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks, sending droplets of the virus into the air. Other methods of transmission include touching surfaces or materials contaminated with the influenza virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes.

Mohap officials also announced free vaccinations, beginning this month, for those at high risk in the UAE. All others can get the influenza vaccination at a nominal charge of Dh50 across government health centres and private hospitals in the UAE.

Explaining the high risk groups that are most vulnerable to catching the air-borne influenza virus, Dr Farida said: “The vaccine is administered free of charge to pregnant women, children under the age of five, senior citizens above 60 years of age and patients who have other comorbidities, such as uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease and health care workers. In addition, all locals (Emiratis) will be administered the vaccine for free and it will provide proper protection against influenza for the entire season.”

The campaign, which was launched at a Press conference on Monday at the InterContinental Dubai, Festival City, aims to promote health awareness among all members of society about the importance of vaccination against seasonal influenza.

 

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