October 10, 2003

York Region Community Flu Clinics make it easy to Get the Vaccine, Not the Flu

Media Briefing/Photo Opportunity: Dr. Hanif Kassam, Associate Medical Officer of Health, will receive his flu shot on Tuesday, October 14 at 11:00 a.m., York Region Administrative Centre, 17250 Yonge Street, Newmarket (Great Hall)



NEWMARKET - Once again, flu vaccine is available free of charge to all Ontario residents. York Region Health Services encourages residents to get their flu shots early, before the onset of the flu season.


Influenza, commonly called the flu, is caused by a virus that is easy to catch and easy to spread. The flu season generally runs from mid November to April each year. Flu symptoms include a headache, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, fever, fatigue and weakness. The flu can lead to more serious illnesses which may result in hospitalization or even death.


"Influenza is a serious respiratory illness," commented Dr. Hanif Kassam, York Region's Associate Medical Officer of Health. "Experts agree that getting a flu shot is the most effective means of avoiding the flu and protecting those around you. I would recommend the flu shot for all normally healthy people over the age of six months of age."


Influenza vaccine has been shown to prevent illness in approximately 70 to 90% of healthy children and adults. The flu is much worse than a cold. Even healthy young people can become very sick and develop serious complications.


The flu vaccine is free of charge to all Ontario residents.  Residents can get their flu shot from their physician, participating workplace or at one of the York Region Health Services community flu clinics.


What else should you know? Influenza is not what is commonly called the "stomach flu" and does not include vomiting and diarrhea, which are caused by different viruses. The vaccine cannot give you the flu because it does not contain any live virus.


The Flu Shot. Who Needs It? You Do!


For further information about the flu vaccine or schedule of community flu clinics, call York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.region.york.on.ca.




Contact:                                    Kim Clark, York Region Health Services

                                                905-830-4444 Ext. 4101



Attachments:                             Backgrounder and Community Flu Clinic Schedule

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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