FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Ontario pharmacists recommend flu vaccination

The Ontario Pharmacists Association recently warned Ontarians that while more than 650,000 Ontarians have already received vaccinations against the seasonal influenza, those who have not are still at risk of infection.

"More Ontarians are recognizing that the most effective way to protect themselves and their families from the flu is to get the influenza vaccine every year," Ontario Pharmacists Association CEO Dennis Darby said. "And increasingly, Ontarians are choosing to get the shot at their local pharmacy. It's convenient, quick, and safe."

Ontario allowed local pharmacies to begin administering the flu shot in the 2012-2013 flu season, resulting in 250,000 flu shots administered. On Thursday, the Ontario Pharmacists Association announced that the number of flu shots administered this season by local pharmacies is already at more than 650,000 immunizations administered by nearly 2,000 pharmacies. The initiative to make the flu vaccine more accessible has been successful, but health officials are still urging those who are hesitant to get vaccinated.

"It's not too late to get the influenza vaccine," Darby said. "And the sooner you get it, the better."

The flu season in Ontario runs from mid-October to April. This season the H1N1, or Swine Flu, is the dominant strain and is most severe for young adults to middle aged adults. This season's immunization protects against three strains of influenza, including H1N1.

In addition to getting vaccinated, Ontario health authorities also recommend the public take other precautions against infection, such as washing the hands frequently, covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and staying home when infected to prevent the spread of germs.