A nurse prepares an injection of the influenza vaccine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts in this January 10, 2013 file photo. More than three-quarters of Americans who got this season's flu shot could get the virus anyway, given a mismatch between the flu strains covered by the shot and those actually causing illness in people, U.S. officials say. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY)

While COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind right now, influenza season is just around the corner.  In anticipation of this, the Ministry of Health has purchased 36.5 per cent more vaccine than last year to meet the anticipated increase in demand.

Another enhancement to the seasonal influenza immunization program is the addition of no cost access to the high dose vaccine for personal care home residents 65 years of age or older.  Long-term care residents in the same age bracket will receive the high dose vaccine at no cost again for the third year.

“It is always a good idea to receive the influenza vaccination but it is particularly important during the pandemic,” Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said.  “Receiving the vaccine will help prevent the spread of influenza.”

Flu shots are recommended for those at higher risk, including seniors, people with underlying chronic health conditions, children under five and pregnant women.  Seniors often have chronic health conditions (like heart or lung disease or diabetes) and weaker immune systems, which makes them particularly vulnerable to complications from influenza.

There will be modifications to where and how flu shots will be administered this year.  To accommodate public health precautions due to COVID-19, there will be increased physical distancing and sanitization procedures.  Details will be available when the fall immunization program gets underway in mid-October.

For further information on influenza symptoms and when to seek care, call HealthLine 811 or visit www.healthlineonline.ca.