Flu shot numbers same as last year

The message from the province for people to get their ’flu shots seems to be working as the Northwestern Health Unit is seeing a healthy turnout for its vaccination clinics since they first began Oct. 21.
“The ’flu shot clinics have been very well-attended,” said public health nurse Cindy McKinnon, who is heading up this year’s vaccination campaign.
“The numbers are similar to last year at the various locations,” she noted. “And we’ve had more appointment-only clinics at the health unit, and all of those have filled up.”
McKinnon noted about 6,000 doses have been administered locally so far.
The health unit also is responsible for acting as a central vaccine depot for the Rainy River and Kenora districts, distributing it to hospitals, long-term care centres, correctional facilities, and clinics.
“Our suppliers [Ontario Government Pharmacy] have been very good. We’ve been able to get all the vaccine we need,” noted McKinnon, adding 27,795 doses have been received to date for this year’s campaign, with all but 100 being distributed.
“We’re expecting a shipment of 4,000 coming in [Tuesday night] so we’ll have enough for everyone,” she said.
The immunization clinics will run until Dec. 3, after which shots still can be received at the health unit.
The next open clinics will be at:
•Nov. 12—Robert Moore School (3:30-7 p.m.);
•Nov. 14—Fort Frances High School (3:30-7 p.m.);
•Nov. 18 and 25—Donald Young School in Emo (3-7 p.m.);
•Nov. 19—Crossroads School in Devlin (3-7 p.m.); and
•Nov. 26—St. Francis School (3:30-7 p.m.)
Three more appointment-only clinics are slated for Nov. 18, Nov. 28, and Dec. 3. These are at the health unit office, running from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. those days.
All people over six months of age are eligible to receive this publicly-funded shot.
Children should be accompanied by an adult. Those under nine years of age who have not received the ’flu vaccine in previous years will require two doses, with an interval of four weeks between shots.
People are advised to wear a short-sleeved shirt.
Appointments can be made by calling the health unit at 274-9827.
Dr. Pete Sarsfield, CEO and medical officer of health for the health unit, previously noted the province’s universal influenza program, which started in 1999, looks to have been effective in reducing incidents of the ’flu.
In 1999-2000, Ontario saw 2,899 cases of the ’flu, or 41 percent of all lab-confirmed cases in Canada. This dropped to 2,235 in 2001-02.
In addition, there’s been a dramatic drop in the number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities and hospitals—from 341 in 1999-2000 to just 205 during the 2001-02 ’flu season.