The H3N2, the predominant flu strain in the southern hemisphere, resulted in a high number of hospitalizations among seniors, said Dr. Saqib Shabab, the province's chief medical health officer.
In addition to standard vaccines, which protect against two strains of A influenza and one strain of B, there is a quadrivalent vaccine that protects against two A strains and two B strains, available for children between six months and 17.
The seasonal flu vaccine will be available for anyone six months of age and older. She says this year's flu season is expected to be especially nasty and more people need to be getting their flu shots, not fewer.
The injectable vaccine provides protection against four flu virus strains that are most likely to circulate this season, including H3N2, which tends to be severe. Because those strains change from season to season, people should be immunized each year.
Shahab added those most at risk for complications from the flu include people over 65, anyone with a chronic health condition, women who are pregnant and children under five. Please don't take the risk.
"The typical season for flu will range from December to March so you're really preparing yourself if you get your vaccination now", Benton County Health Department administrator Loy Bailey said. Influenza can be one less thing we battle this winter.
Eckville will hold flu a clinic on October 26, from 1-7 p.m.at the Eckville Community Health Centre. This clinic is only for pre-booked appointments. It is also spread by touching objects that have been coughed or sneezed on by someone with the flu.
The first local immunization clinic for the flu season opens its doors at Westerner Park Harvest Centre at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
AHS immunization clinics will be held at Westerner Park Harvest Centre, 4847A 19th St., Oct. 23 and 28 from 9:30 a.m.to 4 p.m.; and Oct. 24, 25 and November 1 from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m.
More details on influenza immunization can be found online, or by calling Health Link at 811.
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