Nunavut residents urged to get their flu shots this year

Vaccines should be available in all communities by mid-October

Nunavut’s health minister, George Hickes, rolls up his sleeve to get a flu vaccine last year. Nunavut’s public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, says that with the threat of COVID-19, it is important for all Nunavummiut over six months old to get a flu shot this year. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

The Government of Nunavut is urging all residents over six months old to get their flu vaccine this year.

“Being protected from influenza will be very useful this year,” Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said in an interview.

Because of the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, the risks involved in having a co-infection—where you get influenza and another virus—will be very bad if the other virus is COVID-19, Patterson said.

A public service announcement from the Department of Health said that having people vaccinated against influenza will reduce the pressure on Nunavut’s health care system in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19.

The symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza are similar, Patterson said, so it will be hard to tell what someone has without a test. That’s another reason he said it will be useful for people to be vaccinated against the flu.

The PSA, sent out on Oct. 13, said that flu vaccines should arrive in all communities by mid-October. Shots will be available at health centres and at Iqaluit Public Health, Building 1091.

Contact your local health centre for information about whether the vaccines are available in your community, and if you have to book an appointment for a shot.

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