Wednesday October 22, 2014

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SCHR expands influenza immunization with FluMist

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The province is expanding availability of flu vaccine to all people between two and 59 years of age who are eligible to receive FluMist.

The province received a shipment of 107,000 doses of FluMist nasal vaccine and has begun the process of distributing it to the health regions.

Saskatchewan's remaining supplies of injectable vaccine are being reserved for infants, pregnant women and persons with compromised immune systems. If supplies permit, injectable vaccine will also be made available to residents 60 and over.

More injectable vaccine is expected in early February, and will be used for persons who are unable to get vaccinated with FluMist.

Health regions will offer vaccinations by appointment or on a drop-in basis, depending on operational needs. All flu immunizations in Sun Country Health Region are to be arranged by appointment only, with a Public Health Nurse.

As the new supply of vaccine becomes available in the Sun Country Heath Region, the Region will provide influenza shots to the priority groups only, for as long as supplies last.

Influenza cases are on the increase. H1N1 is the predominant strain circulating. The number of flu-related deaths in the province has risen to 12 from seven according to the Saskatchewan Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer.

Dr. Denise Werker says 49 people have been admitted to intensive care because of influenza and some of them are seriously ill. As of January 17, there have been 797 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza.

Following the arrival of a large shipment of FluMist vaccine, a large segment of Saskatchewan's population will again have access to influenza immunizations.

Fifteen people died in an H1N1 pandemic in 2009, although this outbreak hasn't been classified as a pandemic.

"We encourage Saskatchewan people to be vaccinated to protect themselves from illness due to influenza. Our goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible," said Werker.

Dr. Shauna Hudson, Medical Health Officer for Sun Country Health Region, reminds the public that in addition to vaccination, people can help protect themselves against influenza through frequent hand washing, coughing and sneezing into their sleeve, cleaning surfaces often and staying at home when sick.

Please call Healthline at 811 if you have questions about influenza. People who experience respiratory problems should see a doctor.


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