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Swine flu fears

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

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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1 Comment

  1. Sam on November 8, 2009 7:30 am

    I take serious issue with the fact that teh Emirates is ignoring WHO recomendations and giving Haj pilgrims priority over hospital workers, pregnant women and children. To attend Haj in the middle of a flu pandemic is a choice. Hospital workers cannot choose to abandon their careers to protect themselves, pregnant women can’t change the fact they are pregnant and children can’t prevent the fact their children. I understand we live in a Muslim country but since when did that make it acceptable to put women, children, healthcare workers and teachers, who are at high risk, behind those who are devout but choose to put themselves at risk? I always understood Islam to be protectionist over children especially, perhaps I misunderstood.


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