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Thunder Bay, ON
P7B 6E7
Phone: (807) 625-5900
Toll-Free: (888) 294-6630
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Up-to-Date Whooping Cough and Flu Vaccines are Important for Everyone

November 30, 2012 - As the Health Unit continues to receive reports of confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough) and influenza (the flu), the public is reminded of the importance of immunization for everyone, young and old, to protect against these contagious respiratory infections.

Through Ontario’s publicly funded immunization program, the pertussis and flu vaccines are available at no cost from the Health Unit and other health care providers.

  • Pertussis vaccine, given in combination with the tetanus and diphtheria vaccines, is available free for everyone up to the age of 64. At this time, the vaccine is not licensed for adults age 65 or over.
  • Flu vaccine is available for free to everyone over the age of 6 months.

Being vaccinated against these respiratory diseases protects the individual and helps to prevent the spread of the infection to those who are at a higher risk for severe symptoms.

Symptoms of pertussis:

  • Symptoms are initially mild but can become severe.
  • Severe symptoms include extreme coughing fits that make it difficult to eat, drink or breath.
  • Coughing can cause an infant or child to vomit or stop breathing for a short period of time.
  • Infants with pertussis are at a greater risk of serious complications which include pneumonia, brain damage and seizures.

Symptoms of flu:

  • Symptoms often start with a headache, chills and cough.
  • Initial symptoms are usually followed quickly by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches, fatigue, running nose, sneezing, watery eyes and sore throat.
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur, especially in children.
  • Individuals over 65 and adults and children with chronic conditions - such as diabetes and cancer - are at greater risk of more severe complications, such as pneumonia.

Both infections can easily spread through coughing or sneezing. It is important to:

  • Get an annual flu shot and up-to-date booster for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
  • Cover all coughs and sneezes with a tissue or cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Put all used tissues in the garbage right away.
  • Do not share any items where there could be an exchange of saliva (e.g. from the mouth) like drinking glasses, water bottles, mouth guards.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap & water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap/water are not available.

Immunizations are available from health care providers or at the Health Unit’s weekly immunization clinic, held Wednesdays from 1:00 to 6:00 pm. Call 625-8346 for an appointment.

If you are not sure if you or your family members are fully immunized against pertussis, call the immunization program at 625-5971 or toll-free at 1-888-294-6630, ext 5971. The Health Unit only has records of the vaccines provided by the Health Unit. If vaccinations were received at other health care provider offices, the Health Unit will not have this information unless it was reported to the Health Unit by the individual, a parent or a legal guardian.


Last Updated: 11/30/2012