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Saudi Arabia

MoH starts nationwide flu vaccination

RIYADH: The Ministry of Health (MoH) launched a nationwide vaccination campaign against seasonal flu on Sunday.

Speaking at the launch held at the MoH headquarters, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Saeed, deputy minister of public health, said the campaign has targeted at least 1.5 million people in all parts of the Kingdom.
The vaccines will be available in 275 hospitals and at 2,259 primary health care centers throughout the Kingdom. He said the vaccination will be available free-of-charge to all those who want to avail themselves of this annual service. It was revealed that the ministry is considering making the flu vaccination mandatory on all pilgrims who will be coming for Haj pilgrimage next year.
Vaccination against meningitis is compulsory on all foreign Umrah and Haj pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.
General Supervisor of the National Program Dr. Musallam Abu Hassan said the ministry focuses on vaccination on the vulnerable categories of people that include pregnant women, people suffering from chronic ailments such as diabetes, cardiac, renal and hypertension patients, and children from six months to five years of age.
He also said that the flu vaccine will prevent the seasonal influenza too.
This year, he said the flu shots were already given to 90 percent of the health officials. Last year, only 20 percent was covered among the health care personnel, he added.
According to the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (trivalent vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses – an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.
There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (quadrivalent vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.

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