September 27, 2020

Why Should I Take Flu Vaccine

It’s again the time of the year for that jab (We know you don’t like it though)

This year amidst the corona virus/Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to take your flu vaccine. Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has made it easy and affordable for everyone. By taking the vaccine, you are not just protecting yourself, but your family, friends, colleagues and the community.

Few facts about flu and the vaccine:

  1. The flu – short for influenza – is a viral infection that affects your respiratory system (Ring any bells? We will come to that later). Seasonal influenza outbreaks usually happen in winter. Starts as early as October and continue till May. Flu symptoms vary from asymptomatic or mild through to severe symptoms and complications that can lead to death. Laboratory testing is required to confirm a diagnosis.
  2. There are around 5 million cases of flu reported every year. (https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal)) which result in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
  3. Talking about the respiratory system, Flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses, but are caused by different types of viruses. It may be difficult to tell the difference between them as symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar. A flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19.
  4. There are mainly four types of influenza viruses, types A, B, C and D. Influenza A and B viruses are the main cause of seasonal epidemics. And there are more than 100 subtypes, and the ones in circulation change from season to season. Now you know why we get the flu every year and the importance of getting the flu vaccine.
  5. The flu vaccine contains a deactivated form of the virus (as in almost all the vaccines – though chickenpox or measles vaccine contains a weakened live version of the virus), which teaches your body to recognize a real flu virus and respond. Way back in 1933 the very first generation of live-attenuated vaccines was developed; and in 1942, a bivalent vaccine was produced after the discovery of influenza B.
  6. Everyone starting from the age of 6 months is advised to take the vaccine.
  7. Every year scientists meet and analyze the current year’s data (142 national influenza centers in 113 different countries!) and prepare the composition for the yearly vaccine. Fun fact is that for northern hemisphere the composition is decided in February and southern hemisphere in September.
  8. Will there be flu along with COVID-19 in the fall and winter? – Yes and that’s why we are asking you be on the safer side. For you and for the community. If you contract Covid -19 and Influenza at the same time you may become quite unwell, hence best to get vaccinated.
  9. The actual cost of the influenza vaccine in Dubai is Dh 21.60. Total cost varies with the facility’s additional charges. Read Gulf news report (https://gulfnews.com/uae/health/flu-season-in-uae-why-influenza-vaccine-prices-differ-across-clinics-in-dubai-1.73847763 )

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