RIYADH: The Saudi Health Ministry has urged citizens and residents to take the flu vaccine, saying that it is effective and safe and helps to reduce pressure on the nation’s hospitals and clinics.
The Saudi Press Agency quoted Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly as saying that the most effective way to confront the influenza virus is to take the vaccine.
Al-Aly said that the vaccine is 80 percent effective, which would help reduce the strain on the health system, particularly through reduced admissions to intensive care units. Booking can be done through the Sehhaty application, he added.
Al-Aly said in a live broadcast via the ministry's account on Twitter that the Ministry of Health has seen an increase in influenza cases this season. He said the flu may cause severe complications and lead to death.
He said millions of people worldwide contract the flu every year, with many of the most vulnerable being hospitalized. Those most at risk include children under the age of five, pregnant women, the elderly, people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, respiratory illnesses including asthma and heart disease.
Al-Aly urged members of the public to avoid crowded places, wash their hands thoroughly, not touch their eyes and mouths directly, use tissues when sneezing or coughing, and wearing a mask, which is one of the most effective ways to prevent disease.
He said people with the flu display various symptoms including shivering and sweating, temperature of over 38 degrees, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, persistent cough, and runny nose.
Al-Aly added that the ministry has effectively countered the spread of COVID-19 through its monitoring processes. He rejected as rumors the notion that people who had been vaccinated for COVID-19 have less immunity against illnesses. He said the public should rely on the ministry for information.
He said that people should take precautions during cold, rainy weather, especially those with respiratory ailments such as asthma.