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Sunday February 25th 2018




Qatar has no intention to enforce a mandatory swine flu vaccination programme, but those who refuse to receive the shots would be held responsible for their choice. The swine flu vaccination programme, which is expected to start once Qatar received the consignment it ordered next month, would be optional for the public including students, but obligatory for Haj pilgrims travelling from Qatar, according to the Assistant minister of Public health Dr Ahmed Naji.“The minister of health instructed us that the immunisation would be optional for students and the public, but mandatory for pilgrims as regulated by the Saudi authorities, and that whoever refuses to receive the shot will be held responsible for oneself and those who are under his care,” Dr Naji was quoted as saying to a local Arabic daily. The official indicated that the immunisation process would be conducted either through the health centres or through medical teams deployed to schools in co-ordination with the Supreme Council for Education. However, he refused to answer a question whether the health authority would request those who receiving the shots to sign a consent form absolving the authority of any responsibility in case of any serious side affects happened. Also, the director of the Public Health department, Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, said that the company with which the Supreme Council for Health has placed its orders for the swine flu vaccine is “licensed and approved” by the WHO. “Some companies which supply the vaccine ask for an undertaking that it would not be sued for any future consequence of the vaccination,” he said. However, Dr Mohamed reassured that the company supplying the H1N1 vaccine to Qatar will be sued in case the vaccine caused any harm to those who have received them. “It is our responsibility to provide our people with the best and safe swine flu vaccine in the market,” he added. Meanwhile, fears over the possible side effects spread among residents as they started circulating e-mail messages and SMS warning that the swine flu shots might cause them “serious problems like paralysis and other neurotic diseases”. Most of the H1N1 flu vaccine produced by several companies around the world are still in the trial phase and mainly relies on volunteers.
Gulf TImes