Although there will always be debate over just how effective the vaccine is at fighting different influenza strains, it is the best line of defence against the spread of illness that we have as we trudge into another flu season.
With the flu shot now widely available at medical offices and pharmacies, you would think that more people would opt to have the shot, but the opposite is true. Some estimates peg the number of Canadians receiving the shot as being as few as one in five. Although in most parts of the country it continently hovers around one-third participation in the program.
The flu represents a tremendous public health risk, especially to the elderly, the very young, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.
Despite all of this knowledge, millions of Canadians contract the flu annually, with more than 12,000 ending up in a hospital as a result, and most distressing more than 3,000 annual deaths as a result of the flu.
To prevent this, it is easier than ever to receive the flu shot. You don’t have to visit a hospital or doctor’s office, simply make a trip to many grocery stores or pharmacies and you’ll be able to be on your way in minutes, and within two weeks it’ll reach full effectiveness. There is even a nasal spray for kids.
It may not prevent you from getting the flu, but it will likely lessen your symptoms and more importantly, it will prevent you from passing it on.
Nothing is as effective as preventing the spread of the flu as getting the shot, and hopefully this year more people take advantage of this program, and pass on vaccines instead of viruses.