MOH News

Seasonal Flu Vaccination Campaign Came to an End
01 June 2016
In the presence of the Deputy Minister of Health for Public Health, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Saeed, the Communicable Diseases Control General Department has launched today (Wednesday) at the Ministry of Health (MOH) Headquarters the closing ceremony of Seasonal Flu Vaccination Campaign during the winter season 1437H. The campaign covered all regions and provinces of the Kingdom.
Dr. Abdulaziz bin Saeed extended his thanks to all health affairs directorates in the Kingdom’s regions and provinces, for the efforts they exerted to achieve success with this campaign, which contributed to educating the citizens and residents on the importance of vaccination and protection against seasonal flu. The campaign has particularly targeted several commercial centers, where two clinics were allocated for men and women at each site. He said that the campaign provided vaccination against seasonal flue, free of charge, for all citizens and residents in the Kingdom, targeting those working in the healthcare sector, pregnant women, those suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and those suffering from chest pains and other diseases, as well as the children (aged 6 months to 5 years) and the elderly, in addition to those people who in close contact with these groups. In this regard, studies showed that the flu vaccine reduces the spread of infections within the community and the risk of developing serious flu complications by an average from 70 to 90%, he said.
He pointed out that seasonal influenza is one of the infectious diseases, having health and economic impacts on the health system in any country, as the annual recorded incidence of the disease ranges between 5 to 10% among adults and reaches up to 30% among children. Worldwide, these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 250 000 to 500 000 deaths, he added.
For his part, the Director of the Extended Immunization Program, Dr. Musallam Abu Al-Hassan, said that the World Health Organization (WHO) aims to reach about 75% of the flu vaccination coverage to the risky groups, by means of the implementation of the national program for flu vaccination in three stages, completed over a period of 5 years. The campaign targeted the vaccination of 50% patients with chronic diseases and 50% of pregnant women and 80% of children (aged 6 months to 5 years), in addition to the elderly (above 65 of age).
He added that the first phase (2014 – 2105) targeted pregnant women, staff of the healthcare sector, and patients with chronic diseases, especially diabetics, lung diseases and heart diseases, while the second phase (2015- 2016) targeted young children and the third one targeted pilgrims from inside the Kingdom.
 “During the Seasonal Flu Vaccination Campaign for the years (1436-1437H), the accumulated number of people getting vaccinated amounted to a total of 1,876,182 persons out of the number of targeted groups and other groups (totaling 2,246,240),” Dr. Abu Al-Hassan stated, adding: “The number of children (aged 6 months to 5 years) getting vaccinated amounted to 295,421 out of the targeted number (totaling 727,576), the number of pregnant women getting vaccinated amounted to 86,645 out of the targeted number (totaling 111,035), and the number of the elderly getting vaccinated amounted to 144,927 out of the targeted number (totaling 170,089). He went on saying: “The number of patients with chronic diseases getting vaccinated amounted to 634,640 out of the targeted number (totaling 647,774) and the number of the health workers getting vaccinated amounted to 183,089 out of the targeted number (totaling 219,708), and thus brings the coverage rate of those people getting vaccinated from the targeted groups and other groups, during the national flu vaccination campaign for the years 1436-1437H, to 41% of children, 78% of pregnant women, 83% of health workers, 85% of the elderly and 98% of people with chronic diseases.”
The ceremony included an operetta performed by a group of young girls known as (Amwaj Stars), in addition to a visual presentation on the final statistics of the campaign and the regions' achievements. 
It is worth mentioning that flu vaccine is considered the best protection against influenza and its complications, meanwhile preventing the transmission of the disease from one person to another, as the vaccine is prepared each year to provide protection against three or four viruses that are likely to cause the disease during that year. Vaccination is also the most effective way to prevent influenza or its severe complications, and it can be given to any person aged six months and above. 
In addition, the Seasonal Flu Vaccination Campaign is supervised by the health affairs directorate at every region or province, with a view to reaching the various targeted groups at their places.

Last Update : 07 June 2016 10:40 AM
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