DOHA: Physicians at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) are alerting elderly residents who have not yet received the influenza vaccine that they may be at a higher risk of complications from the flu.
Mahmoud Ahmed Refaee, a specialist in Geriatric Medicine at HMC, said the flu vaccine, or flu vaccine, has been available in Qatar since October. He said the influenza vaccine is recommended for seniors aged 65 and over, adding that it is a safe and effective way to help stay healthy, prevent illness, and even save lives.
"As the weather begins to change and the colder winter months pass, we see an increase in the number of patients with the common cold, flu, and other viral infections of the respiratory tract. As people get older, they are at a higher risk of complications from the flu, so it is highly recommended that people 65 and older get the influenza vaccine, "said Dr. Rafaee.
He added that elderly residents who get the flu are especially vulnerable to complications and may be more susceptible to pneumonia and worsening chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma and diabetes.
For the best protection, it is advisable to obtain the flu vaccine as soon as possible. Rafaee said it takes about two weeks to boost immunity to the flu virus and says that immunity usually lasts during the flu season.
The Doctor. Rafaee said the flu vaccine is safe for most people, but recommends that elderly residents who have existing medical conditions talk to their doctor before receiving the vaccine. He adds that most healthy adults will not experience any side effects of the vaccine.
"The most common side effect of the flu vaccine is arm pain and sometimes redness at the injection site. People, however, sometimes report body aches, fever or cough. For most people, these symptoms will disappear after 24 hours, "said Dr. Rafaee.
Khalid Elawad, Health Protection Manager, said the Ministry of Public Health, HMC and PHCC have joined forces to launch a national influenza vaccination campaign because vaccination reduces the spread of the infectious disease and can save lives.
According to Dr. Elawad, although both the common cold and the flu usually impact the respiratory system and produce many of the same symptoms, they are caused by different viruses. He says the flu can be very dangerous, especially for older adults because they may be at greater risk for falls, injuries and complications.
Influenza vaccination is free for all residents of Qatar and is available at all PHCC Health Centers, some private health centers and government facilities.