Dubai: As the Dubai residents prepare for the forthcoming summer vacations and Umrah and Haj trips, vaccination and immunisation for the collective public health occupies centre stage.

In order to focus on this the Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA’s) primary health care sector held a workshop to mark this year’s World Immunisation Week campaign (April 24 to 30) which aims to highlight that protecting entire communities with vaccines protects everyone. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Protected Together, #VaccinesWork’.

Dr Nahd Monsef, director of the Health Affairs Department at the DHA, said that immunisation is one of the most successful and cost effective health interventions and lauded the DHA’s robust immunisation policy. “It follows the UAE National Children Immunisation Policy, which provides free vaccines for children up to the age of five years across DHA health centres. Additionally, the Authority also provides a free extended immunisation programme across all private schools in Dubai for children until the age of 17 years,” said Dr Monsef.

The DHA also has a dedicated traveller’s clinic where families can seek counselling and understand the necessary travel vaccines they need to take as well as the health precautions they need to follow based on the destination of travel. DHA also has in place adult immunisation programmes including those for senior citizens and high-risk patients such as immuno-compromised, patients with chronic diseases etc.

Dr Monsef added that the DHA provides reminders for families and very shortly it will be updating their system for immunisation that will not only benefit families, school nurses, health care providers but also it will provide DHA with gold-standard data that can help device evidence-based public health policies and is also vital for tackling outbreaks.

Dr Monsef said the DHA has a stringent follow-up and reminder system to help parents ensure they stay on track with their children’s vaccinations.

“We give parents a time period of two weeks and after that we consider them defaulters, then we send reminders to ensure they don’t miss their children’s vaccination,” he added.