- QNetNews.ca - http://www.qnetnews.ca -

Get your flu shot, public-health officials urge Canadians

Flu causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year. Photo by Tahreem Fatima, QNet News

By Tahreem Fatima [1]

BELLEVILLE – It’s flu season in Canada, and public health officials are urging people to get flu shots.

It’s good to get the shot close to the start of the flu season, as it takes about two weeks following immunization to develop protection against influenza. [2]

The flu shot is available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies across Canada free of charge.

“The vaccination this year is more effective than last year’s vaccines,” said Abhish Patel, the pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart on Sidney Street in Belleville.

“Influenza basically has two types of strains: Type A (H3N2) and Type B,” said Patel.

Local pharmacies, including the Shoppers Drug Mart on Sidney Street in Belleville, offer free flu shots without an appointment. Photo by Tahreem Fatima, QNet News

This season’s flu shot will protect against Influenza A(H1N1), Influenza A(H3N2) and Influenza B, he said.

The flu season started earlier this year, so you should get your flu shots earlier, he said.

People with compromised immunity – children, pregnant women, people with disease or older people – are at highest risk, Patel said.

Tonia Meier, a child-care provider in Belleville, said children are very susceptible to catching the flu virus. 

A lot of the kids she cares for are staying home because of being sick, Meier said.

Besides getting the flu shots, people need to follow good hand-washing practices, she said.

“We all have to work together to achieve the results.”