DHA vacination Drive at Public Prosecution Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is launching an influenza roadshow, where it will be visiting 26 government entities in Dubai, with the aim of vaccinating more than 24,000 employees.

The vaccination fee is Dh50 for expats and free of charge for Emirati nationals and residents who are from high-risk groups, such as those aged 65 and above, children below five, pregnant women and people of determination. Dr Abdullah Al Rassasi, Head of Preventive Medicine Section, DHA, said that in addition to vaccinating around 1,114 DHA employees, the DHA’s influenza roadshow has already visited Dubai Public Prosecution, Dubai Economy and the Executive Council of Dubai, among others. He added that the roadshow will also be visiting Dubai Customs, Al Bayan Newspaper, Dubai Statistics Centre, Dubai Civil Defence and General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, to name a few.

Dr Hend Al Awadhi

Dr Hend Al Awadhi, Head of Health Promotion and Education Section, Public Health Protection Department, DHA, said the roadshow aims to raise awareness about the importance of vaccination amid the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage more members of the community to get vaccinated, especially those who are at a higher risk of developing influenza complications. “Our main objective is to decrease the burden of influenza and its complication, especially this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan on targeting most government entities in Dubai. So far, we scheduled 26 entities and are targeting to vaccinate 24,113 employees. This is subject to increase if needed,” she said.

Influenza vaccination services

To encourage all members of society to get vaccinated, the DHA had revealed earlier that it is providing seasonal influenza vaccination across its facilities for Dh50 for all Dubai expats, and free of charge for Emiratis and the high-risk group.

DHA is offering vaccinations on an appointment basis in three DHA Medical Fitness Centres, in Jumeirah Lake Towers, Uptown Mirdif and City Walk (Smart Salem Centre) from Sunday to Thursday, 7am to 7pm. Emiratis and residents can also book an appointment to get vaccinated across a number of DHA Primary Healthcare Centres that include: Al Badaa, Al Lusaily, Al Mankhool, Al Safa, Nad Al Sheba, Zabeel, Mizhar and Twar primary health care centres — open Sunday to Thursday from 7.30am to 9.30pm.

Vaccination Fee
Free of charge for:
* Emiratis
* Elders above 65 years
* Children under five years
* People of Determination
* Pregnant women
* Dh50 for Dubai expats who are not from the above category

Al Mamzar Health Centre, which caters to women and pregnant women only, is also open from 7.30am to 9.30pm. Al Barsha and Nad Al Hamr 24/7 centres will only offer vaccination services between 7.30am to 9.30pm.

Residents can book an appointment for influenza vaccination through the DHA app. More information is available through the DHA toll-free number 800 342.

Vaccination services at private facilities

The DHA had issued a circular on October 27 regarding the pricing of flu vaccination at private health facilities, setting the fee of the seasonal influenza vaccine in private health facilities in Dubai at a maximum of Dh100 inclusive of related services.

Common signs and symptoms of seasonal influenza
* Fever
* Aching muscles
* Chills and sweats
* Headache
* Dry, persistent cough
* Shortness of breath
* Tiredness and weakness
* Runny or stuffy nose
* Sore throat
* Eye pain
* Vomiting and diarrhoea, but this is more common in children than adults

Importance of vaccination

Dr Al Awadhi said getting vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications. “Seasonal influenza, which is commonly known as the flu, is an acute viral infection that spreads easily from person to person. Therefore, in addition to getting vaccinated, the best way to prevent it is to avoid close contact with sick people, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your eyes or mouth,” she added. Al Awadhi also said that getting a seasonal influenza vaccine (flu shot) is also safe for pregnant women and has many benefits, including preventing influenza and pregnancy complications, decreasing pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalised by an average of 40 per cent and preventing potential problems that affect the health of the foetus, to name a few.