December 28, 2018
Due to an increase in the number of reported cases of influenza in children in the Thunder Bay District, the Health Unit will offer two additional walk-in flu shot clinics for children ages 6 months to 17 years and their families.
The clinics will be held from 9:00am to 12:00pm on Thursday, January 3, and Thursday, January 10, at the Health Unit’s main office at 999 Balmoral Street (corner of William Street). An Ontario Health card is not needed for these clinics. No appointment is necessary; families can just drop in.
"We have added these extra clinics to increase access to the flu shot for families, especially those with children under the age of 5 as they have fewer options and can only be immunized by a health care provider. Anyone 5 and older can be immunized at a pharmacy," says Diana Gowanlock, manager of infectious diseases.
Most local pharmacies are offering the flu shot to those with an Ontario Health Card; it's important to call first to find out when pharmacists are available to give the shot. Gowanlock added, "This year the dominant circulating flu strain, H1N1, is associated with a higher burden of illness among children than among adults. Keeping this in mind, it's not too late for children to be immunized as the flu season can last into January. This year’s vaccine provides protection against H1N1."
Symptoms of the flu include fever, muscle aches, extreme tiredness/fatigue and chest discomfort and/or coughing. With this flu season impacting children at a higher rate, parents are encouraged to watch for symptoms of illness progressing to a more severe respiratory infection. These may include a fever that doesn't get better within a couple of days, shortness of breath, or rapid breathing. These symptoms are a sign that medical assistance may be needed and parents are encouraged to take their children to their health care provider or local emergency department. Telehealth nurses are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-866-797-0000. An Ontario Health Card number is not required and all information is confidential.
For more local information, visit thunderbayflu.ca. Immunization nurses are also available Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm by calling 625-5900 or toll-free at 1-888-294-6630.