Flu shot is nothing to sneeze at
“The seasonal flu has a huge impact,” says Dr. Reena Lovinsky, a specialist in infectious diseases at The Scarborough Hospital. “In Canada, five million people (1 in 6) develop influenza infection each year. Each year, more than 50,000 Canadians will be hospitalized and between 2,000 and 5,000 people will die because of influenza related complications.”
By contrast, approximately 425 Canadians died as a result of H1N1 during last year’s pandemic.
“Really, a vaccination is your first line of defense against the flu,” she says. “The vaccines are safe, and they are designed to protect you against the most common strains of the virus known to be circulating. Unlike last year, when two vaccinations were required to protect you against H1N1 and the seasonal flu, this year’s vaccine will be a single dose.”
Dr. Lovinsky says the seasonal flu shot is most important for the following groups:
- Seniors aged 65 years and older
- Residents of nursing homes or chronic care facilities
- Children aged 6 to 23 months
- Anyone with lung, heart or kidney disease, or other chronic conditions such as diabetes, anemia, cancer or HIV
- Healthy pregnant women
- Healthcare workers
Groups who should avoid the vaccination include children less than six months of age and those with severe allergies to eggs.
Toronto Public Health – Flu information (available in multiple languages)