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| 20 November, 2017

Vaccines at lower prices for travellers

Image used for illustrative purposes. A medical assistant holds up a H1N1 flu shot at the Beni Messous Hospital in Algiers December 30, 2009. Algeria started a vaccination programme for workers considered most at risk on Wednesday. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Image used for illustrative purposes. A medical assistant holds up a H1N1 flu shot at the Beni Messous Hospital in Algiers December 30, 2009. Algeria started a vaccination programme for workers considered most at risk on Wednesday. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Provided free of charge to Emiratis and at affordable price for UAE residents

With vaccinations being given at less than half the price available elsewhere, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHP) is asking people to visit screening centres before the travel and holiday season starts in the UAE.

Speaking to Khaleej Times exclusively, Dr Fatma Al Attar, family medicine consultant and head of Travellers Clinic team, said that the prices of vaccines were lowered on a special order and after a study presented to the minister of health and prevention.

"Our clinics and centres are giving these vaccines at half the price that are available in the private and other government sectors," she said.

These services provided free of charge to all Emiratis and at an affordable price for the UAE residents, are also available at Al Muhaisnah Centre and Ittihad Medical Centre in Dubai.

Dr Fatma said that though vaccines are given free to children under five, they are charged later. "We wanted to make it affordable and ask people to take care of their health," she said.

"It is important to educate travellers on the health risks that they may be exposed to when visiting other countries. It encourages them to visit screening centres before leaving the country so that they may take necessary vaccinations as a precautionary measure," she added.

"Many travellers do not realise the importance of the medical aspect of travelling, which is essential and important when choosing their destinations."

A decree issued last year said that international vaccination for travel is provided for free to citizens of the UAE, whether they have a health card issued by the ministry or not.

A non-local resident who holds a valid health card issued by the ministry shall be exempted from the value of the consultation fee for the purpose of vaccination (Dh150).

The fee for issuing the international vaccination card (Dh20) shall be paid unless the person has received the card in advance, and the fee of doctor's consultation for purpose of vaccination (Dh150) should be paid in case the non-citizen takes the vaccination from any private health facility, even if he has a health card.

The Travellers Health Clinics offer a range of quality health and preventive services based on the guidelines of the World Health Organisation and relevant scientific studies.

The services include raising awareness of travellers about the importance of visiting these centres before travelling to assess health risks, determine their health status, and take vaccinations and other preventive medications required by the country of destination.

She said that ministry had developed a guide to provide quality healthcare for all community members.

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Reporting by Asma Ali Zain

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