Released on November 15, 2022
While the last few influenza seasons saw little to no flu transmission in the province, this year is shaping up to be different. Based on the flu season in the southern hemisphere, North America could see a significant influenza season this fall and winter.
As reported in the provincial Community Respiratory Illness Surveillance Program (CRISP) report of November 10, influenza cases have increased in Saskatchewan with 61 per cent of those in children and youth up to 19 years.
“With an increase of respiratory illnesses this fall, including influenza, all residents should get up-to-date with available vaccinations,” provincial Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said. “In Saskatchewan, we are fortunate to have safe and effective vaccines for influenza and COVID-19. However, COVID-19 is not the flu and COVID-19 vaccines will not protect you from influenza. The best way to protect yourself and your family against influenza is to get the annual flu shot.”
As of November 10, 185,531 doses of influenza vaccine have been administered in Saskatchewan, representing approximately 15 per cent of the population.
All Saskatchewan residents six months of age and older are eligible to receive their flu shots. Residents older than six years can receive their doses at participating pharmacies, Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) clinics and some physician and nurse practitioner officers. Flu shots are free of charge.
Children aged six months to five years can only be immunized at a SHA public flu clinic, public health office, or by a physician or nurse practitioner. Only select physician’s offices offer influenza and/or COVID-19 vaccines.
All residents 65 years of age and older are eligible to receive the Fluzone High-Dose influenza vaccine this year. There is high demand for Fluzone vaccinations and there is ample supply available to eligible Saskatchewan residents; however, some individual vaccination locations may have a designated supply week to week. If you encounter a location that has used their Fluzone supply for the week, check with other vaccination locations. Note that public health recommends that all seniors receive the influenza vaccine that is available to them as soon as they are able, whether it is high dose or not.
”A number of respiratory illnesses are currently putting pressure on Saskatchewan’s acute care system,” Shahab said. “The best way to protect yourself against influenza is to be immunized layered with common sense measures like staying home when sick, washing your hands frequently, and choosing to wear a mask when you feel it appropriate.”
For the most up-to-date information on drop-in clinic times and locations and to make a booking, visit www.4flu.ca. Individual or group bookings can also be made by telephone at 1-833-SASKVAX (1-833-727-5829).
For further information on influenza symptoms and when to seek care, call HealthLine 811 or visit www.4flu.ca.
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