If you haven’t got your flu shot yet, it’s time to book an appointment says Dr. John Guilfoyle with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority.

“The flu is a respiratory illness. It’s quite serious. We’re used to it and it happens every year, but we lose sight of the fact that it makes some people very sick, and can kill people. We have to be concerned about the flu. But unlike COVID-19, we have a vaccine.”

A flu shot is recommended for anyone over the age of 6 months, and it takes roughly two weeks to take effect and protect you from influenza. It helps protect those most at-risk, which include pregnant women, those with chronic health conditions, or those looking after those with high-risk conditions.

“It can be particularly deadly and problematic for people with underlying respiratory problems, diabetes, immuno-compromised people, they all can have worse outcomes when infected with the flu. The flu changes every year so the vaccine isn’t 100 per cent effective, but even if that happens, you don’t get as sick.”

“Getting your flu shot will also cut down on the number of people getting coughs and colds. You won’t have to go to your nursing station or hospital. In the time of COVID, if you present with these symptoms, we have to make sure it’s not COVID and you will need to be tested.”

“The flu shot will save you the trip and the inconvenience of getting yourself checked out. It’s safe. Reactions are extremely rare. And the side effects are easily-managed. I encourage it this year more than any other.”

You can book an appointment to get your free flu shot at pharmacies, from your family doctor or nurse, or from the Northwestern Health Unit.

Appointments are only for one person per appointment, and will allow only one parent per child. If you are sick ahead of your appointment, you’re asked to not come and to call ahead and rebook.

Ontario has invested an additional $70 million to purchase an additional 700,000 flu vaccines this year, to help prepare the country against the combined threat of influenza and COVID-19.

Last flu season, there were about 5,719 flu-related hospitalizations in Ontario and 280 flu-related deaths.

For more information:
Flu shot is vital this winter, NWHU
Province invests $70 million to fight influenza