Health officials want adults to get vaccination message
Health chiefs are to launch a series of campaigns aimed at convincing adults to get vaccinated against life-threatening diseases.
Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said it had a lot of success in vaccinating under-fives but men and women mistakenly believe they don’t need the jabs.
“Adults are susceptible to a number of vaccine-preventable diseases but the majority do not trust vaccination and think it’s only meant for children,” said Dr Fatma Al Attar, consultant family physician and head of preventive services at the DHA.
“Our programmes are geared towards changing beliefs and increasing access to allow more adults to get vaccinated.”
Al Attar, who was talking ahead of the World Health Organisation Vaccination Week, at The City Hospital in Dubai, said the DHA had designed new vaccination programmes based on people’s age groups, occupations, gender and background.
She added that among those already targeted are staff at Dubai Public Prosecution, who have been given shots for hepatitis B and tetanus as their jobs brings them into contact with a large number of people and dangerous objects.
Other groups being targeted are veterinarians, food handlers, healthcare workers, students and people going for Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia.
“Everyone born in the UAE before 1992 should be vaccinated against hepatitis B,” said Al Attar. “This gives them immunity for up to 20 years from diseases that may lead to damage of the liver.”
She added that in order to increase access to vaccination among adults, the DHA will soon introduce a Wellness Clinic where adults can get a full screening to determine the status of their health and find out what vaccinations they need.
Al Attar said the 65 to 80 age group in the UAE is expected to grow tremendously by 2025 because of increased life expectancy and that there was, therefore, a need for programmes to protect this group from vaccine preventable diseases.
The vaccination week starts on April 24 and will be focused at raising awareness of rotavirus and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), several strains of which have been linked to cervical cancer.