With cooler weather contributing to illness, Saskatchewan residents are encouraged to be vaccinated to prevent influenza.
Health officials are reminding residents it’s not too late to get a flu shot as influenza activity picks up across Canada and Saskatchewan, according to a release from the Ministry of Health.
“We have seen an increase in influenza cases in the last couple of weeks, and we expect flu activity will continue through March,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer. “I encourage everyone to get a flu shot if they haven’t already. This season’s vaccine is a good match for circulating strains, including H3N2.”
A total of 590 influenza cases were confirmed in Saskatchewan between September and January 7, with a spike of 175 cases during the last week of December.
The flu vaccine is recommended for anyone six months and older, and is especially important for seniors, children, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems, who are the people most at risk of serious illness from influenza.
The publicly-funded flu vaccine is free and available from many pharmacies across the province, as well as at physician’s offices or health clinics. Pharmacists can only immunize adults and children nine years of age and older who have a valid Saskatchewan health card, so children under nine need to be vaccinated at a public health clinic or physician office.
Those who wish to find more information on public health clinic schedules may check the health region website, call a local public health office or call HealthLine.
A list of pharmacies that provide the free flu shot may be found on the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan website.
As of December 31, an estimated 238,830 flu vaccine doses were administered in Saskatchewan. A total of 64 per cent of these vaccines were administered by public health nurses and other providers, and 36 per cent were by pharmacists.