It’s easy and it’s free #FightTheFlu
Ontario’s Government is encouraging families to get their free flu shot to stay healthy and prevent hospital visits this flu season.
“The flu shot is the best defense to reduce the risk of getting and spreading the virus,” said Elliott. “The vaccine is available across the province to protect you and your family. By investing in preventative measures like the flu shot, we can help save lives and reduce the strain on our system, said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.”
Where to get the flu shot
Getting the flu shot is safe and easier than ever. Every batch of the vaccine is tested using strict guidelines for safety and quality. The shot is available from doctors or nurse practitioners and, in most cases, from local pharmacies or public health units.
The flu shot protects against the most common viruses expected this season. The flu can be passed on before showing symptoms leading to doctor’s visits, sometimes hospital stays or sadly, in some cases, death. This makes getting vaccinated against the flu every year an important part of keeping Ontarians healthy.
“Each year, thousands of people across the province get the flu, which puts extra pressure on our hospitals,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “When you get the flu shot, it reduces your risk of being seriously ill, taking time away from school, work or spending time with families.”
• It takes about two weeks for the vaccination to reach its full effect. Children four and under, pregnant people and seniors are particularly at risk of serious complications due to the flu.
• A 2018 Canadian study found that people are six times more likely to have a heart attack in the weeks after having the flu, and this risk may be higher among those 65 years and older.
• There were about 8,908 flu-related hospitalizations and among those, 619 deaths in Ontario last flu season.
Who is most at risk
Complications from the flu can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or heart attacks and, in some cases, death. Flu causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.
Some people are more vulnerable to complications and hospitalization from the flu:
-Babies under 6 months old are too young to get the flu shot, but they’ll get some protection if their parent got the flu shot while they were pregnant
-Children under 5 years of age, because their immune systems are developing, and their airways are small and more easily blocked
-People 65 years old and older, because their immune systems are weaker and they are more likely to have an underlying condition that increases their risk
-Pregnant people, because their immune system, heart and lungs change – especially later in pregnancy – making it harder for them to fight infection
-People with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes
For more information on the flu and where to get your shot, visit ontario.ca/flu.
Source: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care