News Release - October 4, 2004
FLU SHOT CLINICS BEGIN IN THE PROVINCE
Flu shots at public health clinics begin today across the province, and Saskatchewan Health is encouraging residents to get vaccinated against influenza.
"Influenza is a serious, highly contagious illness with symptoms such as cough, sore throat, head and body aches, chills, and fever," Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Ross Findlater said. "An annual flu shot is the best way to prevent influenza. Frequent handwashing also decreases the spread of most respiratory viruses, including this one."
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends an influenza shot for everyone, even healthy adults and children. Flu season is typically December to March each year. A flu shot in October will provide good protection for the upcoming season.
"You cannot get the flu from the flu shot, as there is no live virus in the vaccine. This is one of the myths we would like to clear up," Findlater said. "And although eating well and exercising are good for you, these actions cannot prevent the flu. An annual flu shot and frequent handwashing can."
Saskatchewan Health provides free flu shots for people in a number of categories at high risk of developing complications if they do get influenza. This includes all people 65 years of age and older, people with chronic heart and lung disease and a number of other specific diseases. Once people in high-risk groups have been vaccinated in the first few weeks of October, most public health offices will have the vaccine for purchase on a cost-recovery basis for others who want to be immunized. The charge is approximately $20. Children under nine need two flu shots the first time they are immunized against influenza to ensure they produce the necessary antibodies; the cost of this second shot is $5.
In addition to public health clinics, flu shots are also available for purchase through physician offices and private nursing services. Many workplaces also provide flu shots to employees in an effort to address work absenteeism.
Regional Health Authority public health offices can be contacted for information on where and when to receive flu shots during the month of October.
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