N.S. begins booking seasonal flu shots, ordered 474,000 doses this year

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Nova Scotia has begun booking seasonal flu shot appointments and will be using the CANImmunize online system that has been used to schedule COVID-19 vaccines.

Bookings can be made as of Monday, and appointments begin on Saturday, Oct. 22.

The influenza vaccine is available free to all Nova Scotians over six months old, from most pharmacies, family doctors, nurse practitioners and family practice nurses. The province has ordered 474,000 doses this year.

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While all people are encouraged by the province to get the vaccine, those are are at high risk of developing complications and those who care for them are especially encouraged to do so.

“People with a higher risk include adults over 65, children six months to five years old, pregnant people, those in crowded living situations, residents of long-term care facilities and people with chronic illness,” the province said in a news release.

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It can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to provide protection, the province noted, so Nova Scotians are urged to get vaccinated in the coming weeks to get the full benefits before influenza season starts.

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The season typically starts in late December to early January, but the province said there have been “a few” cases already.

Appointments at pharmacies can be booked online with CANImmunize or by calling 1-833-797-7772.

“People who prefer to get an influenza vaccine from a family doctor, nurse practitioner or family practice nurse can book an appointment by calling the clinic directly,” the release stated.

People five years and older can receive the influenza vaccine before, after, or even at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Children aged six months to four years need to wait 14 days between the two types of vaccines.

As well, children aged six months to eight years who have never had a flu shot are recommended to receive two doses four weeks apart.

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