Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Some people, such as young children are at higher of developing risk of serious flu complications.
“All children are vulnerable to flu infection,” said Dr. Khalid Hamid Elawad, Manager of Health Protection, Preventive Health Directorate at PHCC, “but some much more so than others.”
Dr Elawad recommends vaccines as the best way to build up a child’s immunity by stimulating the immune system to help the child fight against infections. “Flu is a serious disease.“ To avoid the possibility of developing serious complications that can lead to hospitalization, all children over six months old should receive a dose of the flu vaccine’’ he said, adding that “children under five, and especially those under two, are most at risk as their immune systems are still developing.”
“Many parents have asked why their children need to be vaccinated every year. The answer,” said Dr Elawad, “is that because the flu virus normally changes, or mutates, every season, a new vaccine is designed annually to help the body fight infection from the latest variant.”
“It is usual for flu to break out amongst children through droplets as they cough, sneeze or even just talk near each other at school or kindergarten. Those droplets are inhaled, and flu then spreads to parents before moving very quickly through the community, so getting your child vaccinated is very important as it will help to break the chain of transmission”
Like any medical product, vaccines can cause side effects. Side effects of the flu vaccine are generally mild and go away on their own within a few days, the most common side effect is soreness, redness at the site of the injection
Shots of this season’s flu vaccine are now available, free of charge, to all citizens and residents of Qatar, and parents can make an appointment for their child’s vaccination at their local designated PHCC Health Center by contacting PHCC’s customer service, Hayyak, on 107 or, if they have an existing appointment, by asking for it when they visit the doctor.
More information, including where to get the flu vaccine in Qatar and FAQs about the flu can be found on the campaign website http://www.fighttheflu.qa/