October 19, 2016 - With flu clinics launching tomorrow, the Health Unit reminds the public it has never been easier to get a free flu shot! It is now available at flu clinics, from health care providers, and will soon be available from pharmacies. With so many options for getting the shot, it is more convenient than ever for people and families to protect themselves and the ones they love!
The flu (influenza) is a serious respiratory illness that can lead to complications like pneumonia. The flu shot is the best protection against the flu and it is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. People at a greater risk of serious illness from flu-related complications are also encouraged to get a flu shot. High-risk individuals include:
- People with weakened immune systems due to chronic illness or medical treatment
- Pregnant women
- Children under the age of 5
- Adults over the age of 65
- Indigenous Peoples
“The flu shot boosts the immune system by helping it to build antibodies against the virus that causes the flu,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janet DeMille. “The earlier someone gets their flu shot, the sooner their body can make these important antibodies to protect themselves during flu season. This is especially important for those who are at a higher risk of complications.”
Dr. DeMille also encourages those who provide care to high risk individuals to consider a flu shot. This group includes health care providers, teachers, home care workers, day care providers and family members who have an infant in the home who is under 6 months old.
Before planning to get a flu shot, it’s important to know that:
- Children under 5 can only receive a flu shot from the Health Unit and health care providers like family physicians and nurse practitioners.
- Pharmacies only immunize children over 5.
- An Ontario Health Card is required by pharmacies and health care providers. The card is not required at Health Unit community clinics.
Flu clinics for the City of Thunder Bay and its surrounding rural communities run each Thursday until December 8. Flu clinics held in district communities, including Geraldton, Longlac, Red Rock, Nipigon, Terrace Bay, Schreiber, Marathon and Manitouwadge, run from October 24 to November 15. Please see the attached backgrounder for the flu clinic schedule.
For more information and a complete schedule of Health Unit community clinics, please visit thunderbayflu.ca.