MOH News

MOH Launches Seasonal Flu Vaccination Campaign
05 November 2014
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has launched today the Seasonal Flu Vaccination Campaign throughout the Kingdom. Vaccination will be provided for about 500.000 persons from the categories highly prone to developing the acute complications when infected with the seasonal flu virus. 
The Assistant Deputy Minister for Preventive Health, Dr. Abdullah Assiri, explained during the press conference held today (Wednesday) morning at the MOH Headquarter, that "Our target is to provide vaccination for 75% of the categories highly prone to developing the flu complications annually by the year 2019. We are focusing this year on providing vaccination for the categories at risk, including staff of the health sector, pregnant women, and patients with chronic diseases."
He noted that MOH's flu vaccination campaign has been developed in line with World Health Organization's Global Action Plan (GAP) for Influenza vaccines. It is a comprehensive strategic plan to reduce the current world shortage in the vaccines of the seasonal epidemic and pandemic influenzas in all countries all over the world.
Answering journalists' questions, Dr. Assiri said that the campaign is targeting this year the vaccination of 500.000 persons from the categories highly prone to developing the complications during the influenza season, including 150.000 from the staff of the health sector. He pointed out that vaccines have been provided in the MOH's health facilities amounting up to 275 hospitals and 2259 primary healthcare centers spread all through regions and provinces of the Kingdom.
Likewise, Dr. Assiri indicated that World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the numbers of the severe cases which require healthcare worldwide at about 3 to 5 million cases annually, while the number of deaths due to the complications of the virus is about 250.000 to 500.000 annually.
Within the same vein, he added that "This campaign, which is organized by MOH in collaboration with WHO, will last for five years. The first phase, which will be carried out this year, includes staff of the health sector, pregnant women, and the patients with chronic diseases. The second phase includes children under five, while the third phase includes the elderly, Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, and visitors of the Two Holy Mosques.
On her part, the Supervisor of the National Immunization Program, Dr. Aesha Ash-Shammari, said, "This campaign will be launched through locations available inside the MOH hospitals and the public healthcare centers in all regions of the Kingdom. It will be accompanied by a health awareness campaign for all members of the community, together with a series of lectures targeting staff of health sector who provide care for categories at higher risk, to keep them abreast of the updates of the influenza vaccination and its effectiveness in reducing the risks of developing dangerous complications due to contracting the virus".
"Taking annual Influenza vaccine is vital for the categories at risk, as the response of the human immune system to influenza viruses decreases over the time due to the continuous change of the scattered influenza viruses," Dr. Aesha elaborated. "Therefore the vaccine is updated annually by the WHO to keep up with the changing influenza virus. To that end, staff of the health sector, pregnant women, and patients with chronic diseases are advised to take the vaccine immediately to protect them against infection."
Within the same vein, Dr. Ash-Shammari revealed that more than 1.000.000 doses of the vaccine have been secured; including 500.000 doses provided by the MOH, and additional 500.000 doses to be  provided in coordination with the drugs companies for the private health sector, in addition to the vaccines provided by other governmental sectors.
It's worth mentioning here that the campaign targets staff of the health sectors, pregnant women and patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart diseases, thoracic diseases, etc. Studies have shown that influenza vaccination limits the spread of the infection in the society and reduces the possibility of contracting the acute complications of influenza by 70 to 90 percent. 

Last Update : 30 October 2016 02:09 PM
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