General News

Health unit urges residents to get annual flu shot

November 17, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Flu season is fast approaching and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is strongly recommending that residents get the influenza vaccine to best protect themselves, their families, the community, and the health care system.

“This year, it is critical that everyone eligible gets the annual flu shot,” said Dr. Colin Lee, SMDHU associate medical officer of health. “Low rates of influenza during the past two seasons means our immunity against the flu virus is lower than usual. Couple this year with reduced public health measures like masking and social distancing, we are anticipating it may be a more severe flu season.”

Vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent or reduce the severity and duration of the disease. It can also help to reduce the chances individuals will need medical attention or hospitalization. With COVID-19 still ongoing, up-to-date vaccination for both viruses is an important component of managing the health care system’s capacity and ensuring there is care for those who need it.

“Some individuals are more vulnerable to serious complications and hospitalization from the flu and are encouraged to get the flu shot as soon as possible,” Dr. Lee said.

People who are considered at higher risk for influenza include individuals who are pregnant, residents of nursing homes or other chronic care facilities, people over the age of 65, children between the ages of six months to four years, Indigenous people, persons with chronic health conditions, and healthcare providers.

Swine, poultry, and animal shelter workers should also get the flu shot as early as possible to prevent the spread of influenza viruses between human and animal populations.

The flu shot is now available free of charge to all residents over the age of six months through their primary care provider and at local pharmacies for those two years of age and older.

For those at higher risk, the vaccine is also available in other settings such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, some workplaces, hospitals, and community health centres.

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