FREDERICTON, N.B. – The seasonal flu vaccine is now available in the province, advises Dr. Eilish Cleary, chief medical officer of health.
Strains of seasonal influenza viruses change each year. As a result, the flu vaccine needs to change to ensure it protects against current viruses.
"Vaccination is recognized as the single most effective way of reducing the impact of seasonal influenza, especially for those most at risk of complications," said Cleary.
Seasonal influenza poses serious health risks to the elderly, the very young and those with weakened immune systems or other chronic health conditions.
This year, seasonal influenza vaccine is available free of charge to the following groups by many immunization providers through a variety of programs:
● Adults and children with chronic health conditions:
– cardiac or pulmonary disorders (including bronchopulmonary dysplasia: cystic fibrosis and asthma);
– diabetes mellitus and other metabolic diseases;
– cancer, immune compromising conditions (due to underlying disease and/or therapy);
– renal disease;
○ anemia or hemoglobinopathy;
○ conditions that compromise the management of respiratory secretions and are associated with an increased risk of aspiration;
○ morbid obesity (body mass index of greater than 40); and
○ children and adolescents with conditions treated for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid.
● People of any age who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities;
● People older than 65;
● Healthy children six months to 18 years;
● Pregnant women;
● Aboriginal people;
● People capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk:
○ household contacts (adults and children) of individuals at high risk of influenza-related complications (regardless whether the individual at high risk has been immunized), as listed above;
○ household contacts of infants younger than six months;
○ household contacts of children six months to 59 months;
○ members of a household expecting a newborn during the influenza season;
○ health-care workers.
All healthy persons 19 to 64 who do not have contraindications to influenza vaccine are also encouraged to receive the vaccine.
"The Department of Health recognizes the importance of immunizing those caring for our most vulnerable populations," said Cleary.
For more information, go online or contact your health-care provider.