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 Home News & Events News NEWS ARCHIVE 2008 INFLUENZA AND PNEUMOCOCCAL IMMUNIZATION PROGRAMS TO BEGIN
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INFLUENZA AND PNEUMOCOCCAL IMMUNIZATION PROGRAMS TO BEGIN

October 9, 2008

For Immediate Release                                                                                            

 

News Release  

 

“Influenza and Pneumococcal Immunization Programs to Begin”  

 

Prairie North Health Region is about to begin its annual influenza and pneumococcal vaccination programs for high-risk individuals and members of the general public.  

 

Starting Tuesday, October 14, Public Health Nurses throughout Prairie North will be offering flu and pneumococcal shots free of charge for people at high-risk of serious illness from these infections. To ensure that high-risk persons have adequate opportunity to be vaccinated, clinics held in the first two weeks, from October 14 through October 24, are for high-risk individuals only.  

 

As of October 27, Public Health Clinics will have flu vaccine available for $20 per dose for persons who are not in any of the high-risk categories but who wish to receive the influenza vaccine.  

 

Dr. Brenda Cholin, Medical Health Officer for Prairie North Health Region, reminds the public that the purpose of the immunizations is to help lesson the impact of influenza on residents, families, friends, and communities.  

 

Cholin explains that the flu season usually lasts from November through March but could occur before or after this time. October and November are considered the optimum months during which to receive the flu shot since immunization received from the vaccine lasts four to six months.  

 

“Vaccination of people, especially those at high risk of developing serious illness or complications from the flu, is the single most effective way to reduce the impact of influenza,” Cholin states.   

 

High risk categories for influenza include:  

  • All persons age 65 years and older;  
  • Residents of special care homes including long term care and personal care homes;  
  • Children and adults with chronic heart, lung, or kidney disease;  
  • Children and adults with diabetes, cancer, compromised immune systems and other chronic diseases;  
  • Children and adolescents (ages 6 months to 18 years) with conditions treated for long periods with aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA);  
  • Children ages 6-23 months;  
  • Pregnant women.  

Last year, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health added pregnant women as a new high-risk group, because pregnant women have higher influenza-associated respiratory hospitalizations and medical visits than non-pregnant women. Influenza vaccine is considered safe at all stages of pregnancy and for breastfeeding women. Immunization of pregnant women has the added advantage of potentially protecting the fetus through transplacental antibody passage or through breast milk. Pregnant women may receive flu shots free of charge.   

 

Children ages 6 - 23 months will again receive free flu shots. Children in this age group are at increased risk of hospitalization from influenza compared with healthy older children and young adults. Children may also receive the flu shot when attending Baby Clinics for their regular vaccines.  

 

“PNHR immunization clinics continue through to December in most locations,” explains Cholin. “In addition to people who must pay for their immunizations, people in high-risk categories who have not received their flu shots by October 27 may still do so, free of charge, during November and December.”                 

 

Flu clinics are extensively advertised throughout Prairie North Health Region. Cholin encourages individuals to watch their local newspapers for PNHR’s clip-and-save immunization schedules, or call the local Community/Public Health office for more information.  

 

In addition to public health clinics, physicians’ offices may provide free flu and pneumococcal immunizations to high-risk people covered under the provincial program.  

 

The influenza vaccine is prepared annually in anticipation of the most common strains of influenza expected to occur during the flu season. It is important for people to receive a flu shot annually, because the vaccine is slightly different each year.  

 

High-risk categories for pneumococcal disease include:  

  • All persons age 65 years and older;  
  • Residents of special care homes including long term care and personal care homes;  
  • Children and adults with chronic heart, lung, or kidney disease;  
  • Children and adults with diabetes, cancer, compromised immune systems and other chronic diseases; and those without functioning spleens;  
  • Individuals with Cochlear implants.   

For more information about influenza or pneumococcal immunizations, contact your nearest Community/Public Health Office at:  

North Battleford    (306) 446-6400                         Lloydminster    (306) 820-6225  

Meadow Lake       (306) 236-1570                         Maidstone         (306) 893-2622  

Turtleford               (306) 845-3768                        Neilburg           (306) 823-3450  

 

A complete listing of all influenza and pneumococcal immunization clinics in Prairie North is available on the Health Region’s website at:  http://www.pnrha.ca/  

 

Saskatchewan’s HealthLine at 1-877-800-0002 also has a complete listing of Immunization Clinics in the province.      

 

Editors:  The complete list of Immunization Clinics in PNHR is attached. Your assistance in providing this information to the public by publishing, broadcasting or posting this material is appreciated.   

 

 

MEDIA:  

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:  

Linda Lewis, PNHR Communications Officer          (306) 446-6625


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