Eastern Health announced today it will offer additional clinics for the influenza vaccine (flu shot) over the coming weeks to those in the high-risk groups, starting with pregnant women and children between the ages of six months to under five years old.
A news release states that, in addition to appointments that have been scheduled for the individuals in the target groups, walk-in immunization clinics for pregnant women and children between the ages of six months to under five years old will be held:
•Saturday, Jan. 18 at Mount Pearl Square, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; • Sunday, Jan 19 at Cordage Place in St. John’s from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
A clinic previously scheduled for Monday, Jan. 20 at Mount Pearl Square has been cancelled.
Pregnant women and children in rural areas of the region between the ages of six months to under five years old can also contact their local community health officeto make an appointment to receive the seasonal influenza immunization.
The Department of Health and Community Services has stated that interest nationally in the influenza vaccine this year is outpacing available supply. As such, the provincial government is working with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other provinces to secure more than 80,000 doses of influenza vaccine for use in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The vaccine will be received over the next three weeks and will be made available to the public in a staged manner that focuses on those most at risk. The first targeted group are pregnant women and children between six months and under five years of age.
“We are currently offering our flu vaccine to pregnant women and children between the ages of six months to under five years old first, as they are at the highest risk of experiencing complications from seasonal influenza,” said Alice Kennedy, vice president responsible for Public Health.
“As more vaccine becomes available, we will expand our clinics to offer immunization to other high risk individuals and notify the public accordingly.”
Influenza is characterized by the sudden onset of headache, chills, cough, fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue, running nose, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation. This year’s seasonal influenza immunization helps to protect individuals against three types of influenza, including two types of influenza A (including H1N1) and one type of influenza B.
The public that they can further protect themselves against the flu and other flu-like viruses by adopting good infection prevention practices such as frequently washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or the crook of your arm when coughing or sneezing, cleaning surfaces regularly and staying home when sick.