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Pharmacists Fight Against the Flu

Getting the flu shot this year is your best bet for avoiding influenza! Pharmacists are one of the most accessible health care providers- making it easier than ever to get your flu shot. Not only can the flu shot reduce your own risk of getting sick, but it can also help protect those close to you.

The flu shot is a safe and effective way to avoid the influenza virus. Every year, the vaccine is created based on which strains are predicted to circulate. Therefore, it is important to get your flu shot annually. This is also why the flu shot does not promise full protection. The efficacy depends on if the strains used for the vaccine match the predicted circulating strains, and the age and immune response of the person being immunized. This year, the World Health Organization has identified influenza A and B as the virus strains most likely to circulate, and so, these are the strains being used in this year’s vaccine.

Who should get the flu shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu shots for anyone over 6 months old. There are varying regulations from province to province identifying the ages of people for which pharmacists can administer the flu shot. For example, Saskatchewan pharmacists can administer the vaccine to children ages 5 and older, while Manitoba pharmacists can administer the vaccine to children ages 7 and older.

The flu shot is highly recommended for the following patients:

  • Seniors (a high-dose flu vaccine will be available for adults age 65 and older)
  • Children
  • Pregnant women
  • People with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems
  • Caregivers and contacts of people at high risk

What else can you do to reduce the risk of getting the flu?

  • Proper and frequent hand washing
  • Staying home when sick
  • Cleaning surfaces often
  • Coughing and sneezing into your sleeve

Pharmacist’s Fight Against the Flu

The authority for pharmacists to administer the flu shot improves patient access and ideally increases the number of people who get vaccinated.

The two main locations for receiving the flu shot for the 2017-2018 season were pharmacies (34.2%) and doctor’s offices (30.4%). So remember, pharmacists can identify patients who are at higher risk, provide relevant information about the flu shot, inform you on the benefits and risks, and of course- give you the flu shot!

Speak with your local Pharmasave Pharmacist to learn more.

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