Dubai: As the influenza season begins around September-end and UAE residents are being advised to go for vaccination, especially to boost immunity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that different private facilities across Dubai are charging different prices for the vaccine.
But why is the influenza vaccine so important this year?
Seasonal Influenza is a viral illness that is common around this time of the year and is marked by symptoms such as cough, cold, fever and sore throat. The symptoms are very similar to COVID-19. While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, the vaccine will reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalisation, and chances of fatality and also reduce the burden of illness on health care clinics and hospitals. These organisations are already experiencing pressure on health care resources treating COVID-19 cases so if people get the flu vaccination they would at least spare themselves a doctor’s visit on account of flu.
Explaining the importance of getting influenza vaccine this year Dr Sanjay Paithankar, managing director of Right Health Group said: “It is best to rule out influenza with the vaccine. Not suffering from influenza will keep the immunity of the people strong and help them fight COVID-19 if their respiratory system is not compromised by the influenza virus. Besides, once maximum people get the influenza vaccine, herd immunity against flu can be built up in the community.”
Why prices differ?
In private health centres, clinics and hospitals the cost of the vaccine varies from Dh40-120. A health insurance expert explained the difference in pricing: “There is cost of the vaccine to which the price of the consultation and the pushing charges (injecting the vaccine) are added. Now hospitals and clinics have different charges for this. The actual cost of the influenza vaccine is Dh21.60. The pushing charge and consultation charge would depend on the kind of health-care facility one goes to, whether it is high-end or low-end, and accordingly prices vary. Basic essential plan and many of the modest premium insurances do not cover the cost of any vaccination. It is only some high-premium health insurances that cover vaccination costs,” he added.
Different pricing at government and private health-care facilities
When the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) hotline 80003542 was dialled, the call centre attendant said the vaccine would be available from October 1, at all the DHA primary health centres across Dubai. The vaccine priced at Dh 64.50 is available for any resident on appointment. One has to call up the toll free number and based on the location of the caller an appointment can be booked for the closest primary health centre.
In Dubai, Right Health Clinics, an affordable health-care group mainly catering to blue-collar workers, has influenza vaccination available for Dh45 at their clinics in Burjuman Centre, Al Karama and Al Khail Gate. Influenza vaccination is already available at these branches.
At all Prime health-care clinics, the vaccination is available for Dh60 for both adult and children. At Prime Hospital, the vaccine costs Dh112 for both adult and children.
At Aster Clinics, it is available for Dh59 for adults (no consultation required) and Dh79 for children (inclusive of consultation fee). At Aster Hospital, the price is Dh99 for both adults and children. Price includes cost of vaccine and doctor consultation. At both the clinics, no health insurance cover is applicable. One can book an appointment through the Aster Hospital’s website.
At Medcare Hospitals and Medcare Medical Centres, the price for vaccination for children is Dh49 and for adults it is Dh79. The facility has accepted some insurance policies that cover the cost of vaccination. No consultation is required.
At Unicare Medical Centre in Burjuman, the cost of the vaccination is Dh125, which includes consultation for children. For adults, no consultation is required.
At Avivo Health Group clinics in Dubai and Sharjah, the vaccination is priced at Dh49, with complimentary consultation for both adults and children. For home service, the price is Dh149, in both Dubai and Sharjah.
Symptoms of Influenza:
• High fever
• Dry cough
• Get the seasonal influenza vaccination.
• Have plenty of liquids and keep oneself hydrated.
• Cover mouth while coughing and sneezing as the virus is airborne.
• Use a surgical mask to prevent infection.
• Use hand sanitisers especially when using public utility services in crowded places.