The least favourite of the five seasons in Saskatchewan, flu season, is upon us.
Whether you view needles as frightening, or simply a poke in the arm, the message behind getting a flu shot is simple.
“I go into every year with that optimistic lens of let’s get as many people out to get the flu shot, and let’s try and make sure that it’s a pretty quiet flu winter,” said Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) medical health officer.
Nearly 400,000 units of the influenza shot were ordered by the province this year, a quantity based on anticipated need. A fairly big number considering only about 30 per cent of Saskatchewan residents were vaccinated last flu season.
However, if one Saskatchewan city serves as an indicator, the number of immunizations should jump in 2019-20.
“We’ve already done over 200 vaccinations, and last year we did around 500. (This year) we’re hoping we’ll do even more than that,” said Erica Almen, a Medicine Shoppe pharmacy manager in Martensville, just north of Saskatoon.
Last year, there were 59 influenza patients admitted to intensive care units throughout the province, while the virus claimed 11 lives.
“If everyone kind of thinks of this as we’re all in this together,” Hasselback added.
“It’s a battle against the bug that’s minuscule and impossible to see, but it causes us a lot of havoc every winter. I’d love one year to be able to answer that we didn’t have any deaths,” she concluded.
Over 600 clinics around Saskatchewan are offering flu shots from now until the end of March. The full list can be found on the SHA website.