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Swine flu fears
Even as the UAE gets its first batch of H1N1 vaccines, a majority of residents are still concerned about the virus.
November 5, 2009 2:20 by Aarti Nagraj
A majority of residents in the UAE are concerned about swine flu, according to a YouGov lifestyle poll conducted in October. The poll found that 25 percent of the respondents were “extremely concerned” about the virus, while 41 percent were “somewhat concerned.” Only 9 percent said that they were not at all concerned about the flu.
Although hype about the virus has died down, its numbers seem to be growing; as of October 25, there have been more than 440,000 confirmed cases this year according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The numbers show an increase of 26,000 cases compared to the previous week.
Meanwhile, the UAE recently received its first batch of swine flu vaccines. Local health authorities said that 40,000 doses of GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandermrix or the D-Pan intramuscular vaccine arrived in the country on Saturday, reported Khaleej Times. Health ministry sources told the paper that vaccinations would be carried out according to the UAE National Immunization Plan, which is expected to be ready by early next week.
World health authorities have said that vaccinations should be given for the high risk group first, which includes pregnant women, children, healthcare workers and teachers, among others. But local officials say that Haj pilgrims may be given top priority in the country.
“Though the World Health Organization recommends giving priority to healthcare workers and other people under the high risk category in the first round of vaccinations, we have modified the plan due to the Haj season,” a health ministry source told Khaleej Times on Tuesday.
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November 5, 2009 | Cover Story