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DOHA: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has urged individuals at high risk of developing severe symptoms because of viral respiratory infections to take measures to protect themselves and their health.The advice comes as temperatures drop in Qatar and the presence of common winter respiratory viruses including seasonal influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19.

Director of Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control at MoPH, Dr Hamad Al Romaihi, said: "Certain population groups are at increased risk of developing more severe symptoms if they become infected with these common winter viruses. This includes people over 50 years of age, individuals with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and young children, particularly those below 5 years of age."

"It is important for individuals to take measures to protect themselves against winter viruses and reduce severe symptoms if they do become infected. The most effective protective measure to reduce the risk of severe flu and COVID-19 symptoms is to get vaccinated annually. Each year, flu and COVID-19 vaccines are updated to ensure they offer maximum protection against the latest strains of the virus. The Ministry of Public Health has approved the latest updated versions of flu and COVID-19 vaccines, and we encourage high-risk individuals to ensure they have received the latest vaccines," added Dr Al Romaihi.

Influenza vaccines are available at more than 90 healthcare facilities across Qatar, including 31 PHCC health centers, outpatient clinics at HMC hospitals, and more than 45 semi-governmental and private hospitals and clinics, while COVID-19 vaccines are available at all 31 PHCC health centers.

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