Get your flu shots early, says Sask. chief medical health officer

Carers encouraged to get free flu vaccine

Pharmacists Concerned with Lack of Accessible Flu Shots

The free shot will be offered at public health clinics, participating pharmacies and some physician and nurse practitioner offices.

Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly is one way to prevent the flu but Watson said the best way to avoid the illness is to get a flu shot.

Flu season is just around the corner, and on Friday the province announced the publicly-funded flu vaccine will be offered starting October 23. "Get the flu vaccine before influenza starts transmitting", said Shahab. "In those situations, the flu vaccine is especially important and it reduces severe outcome and hospitalization".

Shahab added those most at risk for complications from the flu include people over 65, anyone with a chronic health condition, women who are pregnant and children under five.

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In 2009 and 2010, one in two people were vaccinated during a flu pandemic, said Shahab.

"Parents loved it, but there was some concerns about its effectiveness especially for. the H1N1 strain", said Shahab.

Shahab said the province follows what happens in the southern hemisphere when forecasting the flu season. Approximately half of all flu shots provided in the province previous year were done by physicians. Still, it is hard to predict what strain in particular will be most present. "With H3N2 strains, we see more outbreaks in long-term care facilities".

Many carers are unaware they are entitled to a free vaccine and patients who need a full-time carer are likely to be at greater risk of becoming more seriously ill from the flu than the general population.

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