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‘Vaccines are certainly important’: Flu shots now available in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan health minister Jim Reiter rolls up his sleeve Tuesday morning as flu shots become available across the province.
Saskatchewan health minister Jim Reiter rolls up his sleeve Tuesday morning as flu shots become available across the province. Sean Lerat-Stetner / Global News

As flu season gets closer, the Saskatchewan government is reminding residents to get their shot.

Lost in the shuffle of the federal election, flu shots were made available to the public on Monday.

On Tuesday, Jim Reiter, the province’s health minister, rolled up his sleeve to kick things off.

“I think we turn to medical professionals, we turn to science. It’s been proven over and over how much of a help it is. Vaccines are certainly important,” Reiter said.

READ MORE: Sask. flu shot clinics begin week of Oct. 21

“I know some people are reluctant. Nobody enjoys getting a needle, but again it takes just a few minutes out of your day and it’s a good prevention from getting sick.”

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Sixty-nine Saskatchewan residents were hospitalized last flu season, 13 of whom died including four children.

Medical professionals recommend everyone over the age of six months to get the shot annually, as strains change every year.

READ MORE: Poll: 4 in 10 Sask. residents won’t get the flu shot this year

“It’s the same kind of message every year and we still need to reinforce that with our patients,” said Beth Kessler, Save on Foods pharmacy manager.

“It does change so quickly that they just put out new ones [strains] every year based on the world patterns that are happening.”

Flu shots are available at pharmacies and public health clinics across the province for free, with a valid health card.

The province has ordered about 400,000 doses of flu vaccination.