The Ministry of Health received 55,000 doses of flu vaccine yesterday following reports of crisis in the country because of the shortage of seasonal flu vaccines, which medical specialists have stressed have become more necessary than ever considering the spread of coronavirus pandemic, informed sources revealed to Al Qabas daily.
The daily, quoting sources explained that additional quantities of the influenza vaccine were distributed to the health centers in areas at a rate of 11,000 doses for each area.
They revealed another batch of vaccines would be received after a short period following a significant increase in booking appointments by citizens to enter the centers in the current week, since the launch of the national winter vaccination campaign.
The current phase is the first for the vaccinations, while the second phase will be for medical staff, nursing, high risk persons, the elderly, and those suffering from chronic non-communicable diseases.
The ministry is working towards vaccinating the largest possible number of the country’s population, to avoid any infections with influenza or the coronavirus at the same time, and to reduce the possibility of anyone showing health symptoms due to infection with coronavirus among those who receive winter vaccinations.
The ministry is studying the start of the implementation of the third stage of influenza vaccinations after the arrival of other quantities of vaccines, which will include expats, through pre-booking appointments, with the aim of strengthening community immunity and containing the spread of winter diseases as much as possible.
Pneumococcal vaccine is currently being given for children from 6 months to 16 years, who have never been vaccinated before according to the children’s vaccination program, in addition to individuals from the age of 16 years and over, and to those who are most exposed to health risks and have not been vaccinated before.
Vaccinations against seasonal influenza is necessary to reduce the severity of the associated symptoms, which are very similar to the symptoms of coronavirus infection, with a slight difference is loss of smell for the coronavirus infection. This is why increasing health awareness is very important, which would also help to alleviate pressure on medical staff in health facilities, and reduce the burden on the healthcare sector.
The Health centers have been operating since the start of the pandemic amid great pressures, and continue to receive citizens wishing to take the influenza vaccine, while pneumonia vaccinations are abundant.
Vaccines are not available in the private sector
The daily, referring to sources pointed out that seasonal influenza vaccines and pneumonia are not yet available in most hospitals and medical centers in the private sector, as they are still waiting for quantities of vaccines to arrive to be given to citizens and expats.
Explaining that there is no specific date for the arrival of vaccines, as the companies producing them face many obstacles due to the high demand from all countries of the world.
Combining influenza and coronavirus vaccines
Medical sources said that the World Health Organization advises groups at high risk that they should take the influenza vaccine during the Covid-19 pandemic that would help reduce the possibility of severe respiratory diseases due to viruses that spread simultaneously during the winter season.
An influenza infection with some other respiratory viruses contribute to causing weakness of the human body and reduce its defenses, which increases vulnerability to other infections, indicating that influenza and “Covid-19” each separately raise the possibility of death in severe cases. Therefore, a patient with both of them has an increased risk of fatality.