Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie is encouraging Islanders to get their flu shot.
“Vaccination is recognized as the single most effective way of reducing the impact of influenza, especially for those most at risk of complications,” Currie said Friday.
“We encourage all Islanders to get vaccinated as this is your best defence against the spread of the influenza virus to yourself, your family, and your community.”
Initial shipments of influenza vaccine are expected shortly.
This year, Health P.E.I. is working to make it easier for Islanders to get vaccinated against the flu. Flu immunization clinics open to the public will be set up in communities across the province with some extended hours available as needed. As well, a new centralized toll-free phone number and booking system are being put in place to make it easier for Islanders to schedule an appointment.
“By making the influenza immunization program more accessible, we hope that we can increase the uptake of influenza vaccination across the province,” said Kathy Jones, HPEI Director of Public Health Programs.
The vaccination is free again this year for seniors age 65 and over, children aged 6 - 59 months, pregnant women and household contacts of pregnant women. A $7 administration fee will be charged to all others wishing to be vaccinated at the clinics.
“Improved access for the public has been shown to increase uptake of the influenza vaccine,” says acting Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. David Sabapathy. “With influenza season approaching, it is important to take the necessary steps now and throughout flu season to help protect yourself against influenza . Wash your hands often, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, stay home if you are sick and, most importantly, get your annual flu shot.”
Flu vaccination clinics are expected to start in the middle of October, and Islanders can call 1-855-354-4358 (4FLU) beginning Oct. 7 to make an appointment.
The public can visit www.gov.pe.ca/flu for more information.