Influenza causes approximately 12,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year, according to Dominique Mongeon, a public health nurse at the Porcupine Health Unit. “Many people think of influenza as a harmless illness, but it can lead to serious complications and can affect anyone.”
That’s why, she says, it’s a good idea to get your flu shot, whether it’s at your healthcare provider, your pharmacy, or at the health unit.
Although the flu vaccine is not 100 per cent effective, says Mongeon, it still prevents many illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths. “When you get vaccinated against the flu, you build up your immunity, making you stronger and more resistant to the virus,” she adds.
The Porcupine Health Unit encourages everyone to receive the influenza vaccine and will be offering free community influenza clinics throughout the month of November.
“We’re trying to make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated, whether it’s during any of our weekday clinics, our Saturday morning clinics, or through your local healthcare provider or pharmacy.”
“People are telling us they really appreciate the convenience of online appointment booking,” says Mongeon. “It’s reduced waiting times and makes it easier to plan, knowing you can be in and out of a clinic in about 20 minutes.”
Mongeon encourages everyone to get vaccinated. “The best way to protect yourself, your family and the community is to get vaccinated every year, because the flu virus can change from year to year.” Mongeon noted that vaccination is particularly important for those who are, or who interact with individuals, at high risk of influenza-related complications.
The Porcupine Health Unit is located in northeastern Ontario, serving the entire Cochrane District and Hornepayne, in Algoma District. The main office is located in Timmins, Ont., with branch offices in Cochrane, Hearst, Hornepayne, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Matheson, Moosonee and Smooth Rock Falls.