19 Sep Get your flu vaccine and protect the family
“Should I get the flu vaccine to protect myself and my family from this year’s flu?” It’s a question the Health at Hand doctors get asked a lot at the moment. The simple answer is yes. Here is all there is to know about the flu vaccine:
Why get the vaccine annually?
Each year a different flu vaccine is manufactured. A great deal of research goes into deciding which strains of flu viruses go into the vaccine, with those that are most likely to cause illnesses selected. Viruses gradually change as they get passed around, which is why the flu vaccine has to change too. Every now and then, viruses change dramatically and this is when epidemics tend to happen as people have not developed immunity to these very different strains. So if you got the vaccine last year, it is a good idea to get it again this year.
What exactly is in the vaccine?
The viruses in the vaccines are inactive, so they are not alive and you are not going to get the flu from the directly from the vaccine. Our bodies recognise the flu proteins in the vaccine and make antibodies to the viruses. This means when we come in contact with these flu virus, our bodies are ready to fit.
Am I going to get the flu if I have had the vaccine?
Because the viruses are not active they cannot cause the flu. If you get a fever or feel under the weather after recieving the vaccine this is your immune response to the virus in the vaccine and is completely normal. It means your body is creating antibodies to the virus.
Is the vaccine 100% effective?
Unfortunately it is impossible to cover all the possible strains of flu in the vaccine. You can get a different strain of flu even if you have had the vaccine. In Dubai with such a melting pot of different nationalities and with so many people travelling regularly it is not surprising that people sometimes get the flu twice.
When should I get the vaccine?
You should be getting the flu vaccine as soon as it is available, preferably before the beginning of the winter season, September-October.
Where can I get the vaccine?
In Dubai you can visit any medical centre and many hospitals to get your vaccine. Make sure to give them a call and make sure that it is available first.
Emiratis and expatriates across Abu Dhabi can get free flu vaccinations by visiting primary healthcare centres run by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, Seha. The vaccination is available for all, with priority given to groups at high risk including the elderly, those with chronic diseases, pregnant women and children under five, as well as people working in healthcare.
Who is the vaccine most beneficial for?
- All healthcare workers
- Pregnant women
- Hajj and Umra pilgrims
- All adults aged 65 years and older
- People under 65 years of age with high risk conditions such as:
- Taking treatments that weaken their immune system like radiation therapy and other treatment for cancer
- Having damaged spleen or removed spleen
- HIV infection or AIDS
- Chronic alcoholism
- Having long-term health problems (chronic disease):
- Heart disease
- Chronic lung disease (including Asthma)
- Chronic liver disease
- Kidney disease
Visit www.haad.ae for more information
Who should not have flu vaccine?
- Babies under 6 months – they should be covered by antibodies that passed from their mother in the womb. All pregnant women should receive the vaccine.
- People with a severe allergy to any of the components of the vaccine
- People suffering from an illness at the time. They will be able to have the vaccine once recovered.
If you are uncertain about having the vaccine, please sign up today and speak to one of our highly trained doctors now.