Residents urged to get the flu shot
Tim Brody - Editor
The Government of Ontario and the Northwestern Health Unit are encouraging people to get the flu shot.
“Each year, thousands of people across the province get sick with the flu, which puts extra pressure on hospitals and the health care system. The flu shot provides the best defence and is a proven way to reduce emergency department visits and wait times to help end hallway health care,” a news release from the Government of Ontario informed.
“Every Ontarian can join our efforts to put an end to hallway health care by getting their flu shot,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “In fact, getting your flu shot is an important part of keeping all Ontarians healthy and out of hospital, while reducing the strain on our emergency departments. The flu shot will be available across the province to protect you and your family.”
A news release from the Northwestern Health Unit stated, “If you or someone close to you is at high risk of flu complications, you can get your shot now. You can plan to get your flu shot at pharmacies, from your family doctor or nurse, or from the health unit. Pharmacies cannot give the shot to anyone under five years old. We encourage families with children under five to book an appointment with the health unit at www.nwhu.on.ca or by calling 1-866-468-2240. Protect yourself and everyone around you… get your flu shot!”
“The free flu shot is especially important for young children, pregnant women and people 65 years and older who are at high risk of flu-related complications,” the Government of Ontario news release shared.
“Minister Elliott set an excellent example for Ontarians today (Oct.30) by getting the flu shot,” said Sandra Hanna, Interim CEO of the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada. “The vaccine remains the single most effective way to protect against influenza and its complications. Pharmacists in 4,500 communities across the province are ready to deliver the flu shot in a convenient, accessible way.”
“The flu shot is safe and is your best defence to protect you, your loved ones and your community,” said Dr. Sohail Gandhi, President of the Ontario Medical Association. “While the flu is common, it can also be serious and cause many complications. The flu kills an estimated 3,500 Canadians every year and puts more than 12,000 in the hospital.”
Quick Facts from the Government of Ontario:
The flu is a contagious illness that can result in a hospital stay or can lead to complications such as pneumonia, heart attack or, in rare cases, death.
Flu season can start as early as November. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to reach full effect, so be sure to get the shot as soon as it’s available.
Young children - especially those under two - pregnant women and seniors are particularly at risk of serious complications due to the flu.
A 2018 Canadian study found that people are six times more likely to have a heart attack in the week after having the flu, and this risk may be higher among those 65 years and older.
Last flu season, there were about 5,450 flu-related hospitalizations in Ontario and 275 flu-related deaths.