By Andy Sambidge
UPDATE 1: Crown Prince is first to receive UAE vaccine while Saudi also fights H1N1 virus.
A nationwide campaign to combat the threat of swine flu has been launched in the UAE.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, was the first to receive the swine flu vaccine following the start of the campaign on Saturday.
He said that provision of healthcare services was one of the key elements of the UAE's development strategy.
"The healthy citizen is more capable to contribute in the implementation of the comprehensive development plans and in shaping the better tomorrow for our country," he added in comments published by news agency WAM.
"The world is facing a real challenge with the emergence of H1N1 virus. There is a dire need to take stern preventive measures to curb the spread of the disease, not only in the regional levels but at the international levels, and to be prepared for the worst." Sheikh Mohammed said.
The H1N1 vaccination campaign will kick off in Abu Dhabi and cover the entire country.
The campaign is also aimed at spreading awareness about the importance of immunisation against the disease, in addition to providing training to medical staff on the vaccination processes.
Separately, Saudi Arabia also launched its swine flu vaccination campaign on Saturday, initially focusing on some 500,000 pilgrims from within the kingdom and health personnel working during the hajj.
Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeah, Minister of Health, said a million doses of the vaccine would cover the first stage of the campaign.
I am wondering why we are still advertising and doing campaigns to enforce the vaccination and proven worldwide that this is not even a disease. My friend's son had been positive to the swine flu test, during the 8 days whereas this kid was abscent on school, he was playing all the time at home, no sign of any illness. his mom expressed that this is a non sense pannic, and this is a flu much less important than the normal flu. And she wouldn't give her son any vaccination nor advise anyone to take it.
The regular flu kills each year many more persons that the swine flu, why are billions being deployed now for this swine flu whereas this money could be used for more serious life-taking diseases?? but are we at least sure about the safety of this vaccination or about its side effects?