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Flu Vaccine 101, why Canadians should be vaccinated.

There are many reasons why people choose to not be vaccinated against the flu, despite yearly recommendations.  The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends anyone over the age of 6 months receive the flu vaccine.  This is particularly important for health care workers and volunteers, those caring for elderly or small children, travelers, pregnant women and those frequently exposed to the public.

Common myths associated with the flu vaccine include:  “The flu shot gave me the flu”, “I am healthy why do I need the flu shot”, “I had the flu shot previously so I am still covered”….

The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu; it is impossible. The flu vaccine is made up of inactivated flu virus strains.  If you still get the flu after being vaccinated, the flu virus was already in your system.  The vaccine takes two weeks to become effective.

Healthy individuals are still at risk for the flu and are putting others,(especially small children and the elderly), at risk if they become ill.  This year’s strain in particular is attacking young adults.

H1N1 has been a component in each flu vaccine since the outbreak in 2009.  Every year there are new strains of the virus and the components in the vaccine are updated accordingly to anticipate the next flu season.

There is a risk with any vaccine; individuals should be well informed when deciding whether vaccination is right for them. The flu vaccine is generally considered  to be 70 to 90 per cent effective against the most common strains of flu. Please note there are other viruses that can cause colds and flu-like illnesses, which may not be prevented by the flu vaccine.

For further information visit the Public Health Agency of Canada Website or discuss with your health care practitioner.  The flu vaccine is still currently available at the Nova Travel Health and Immunization Clinic.  Please contact us today to book your appointment.

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