October 28, 2010

York Region begins annual seasonal influenza campaign

Influenza vaccine available to all York Region residents over the age of six months


NEWMARKETThe flu season is here and The Regional Municipality of York encourages all residents to get their flu shot as early as possible.


“All indications point to the fact that this year’s flu season will be a more regular flu season,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health.  As announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in August 2010, the H1N1 pandemic is officially over.  However, it is expected that the H1N1 flu virus will take on the behaviour of seasonal influenza virus and circulate in our communities for many years.”


This year’s seasonal influenza vaccine will provide protection against the main circulating flu viruses in our community including the H1N1 strain.


Similar to previous seasonal flu campaigns, a seasonal flu vaccine will be available to all York Region residents over the age of six months.  Flu immunization is especially important for persons at high risk of flu-related complications, persons capable of transmitting flu to those at high risk and persons who provide essential community services.  For this year’s influenza season, three additional groups that experienced more severe health outcomes during the H1N1 pandemic are considered priority recipients for the influenza vaccine.  These new groups are children two to four years of age, obese individuals and people of Aboriginal ancestry.


Influenza vaccine will be available to residents at any of the 25 public health community influenza clinics scheduled to begin on November 1.  Residents may also get the flu vaccine from their family physician, participating workplaces, pharmacies and other locations offering it.


Seasonal influenza vaccine has been shown to prevent illness in approximately 70 to 90 per cent 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. 


Influenza-like illnesses are caused by viruses that are easy to catch and easy to spread.  The flu season generally runs from mid-November to April each year.  Flu symptoms include headache, muscle ache, 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 not the same as the “stomach flu” and does not usually 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.


A flu shot coupled with good infection and prevention practices, such as proper and frequent hand washing, cough/sneeze etiquette and staying home from work/school when you are sick, can minimize the risk of illness for residents and their families this flu season.


For more information on influenza and a complete list of community influenza clinics, please visit www.york.ca/flu or call York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933.


For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca


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Media Contact:           Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region

Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753

Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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