Three weeks in the annual campaign against Iceland Health, the amount of vaccine distributed to pharmacists and doctors increased over the same period in 2017.
235,984 doses, more than 10,000 doses, were dispatched to medical professionals compared to last year's three-weekly total of 225,621. This follows an upward trend in the number of vaccinates over the past several influenza seasons.
"We always order a little more over the years," said Dr. Dee Hoyano, health care officer at Health Island.
The total number of doses given during the 2017-18 season was more than 275,000.
Iceland Health also reported a slight increase in the number of adults and children immunized by public health nurses of the three-week mark – to 10,280 from 10,266 last year.
There is still time to shoot in the optimal window at the start of the season, said Hoyano.
"Ideally, we want everyone to be vaccinated to do so in the next few weeks before you reach December, because that usually happens when we start to see more flu activity," she said.
Flu cases in 2017-18 spread in April, but Hoyano said the season is usually between Decembe and March.
She said health officials are still waiting to see how severe the 2018-19 influenza season will be and which strains will dominate. This vaccine encompasses two strains A and one strain B. As in most seasons, it is expected to be 40 to 60% effective.
"The flu results we have now show that most of them are influenza A, H1N1 strain," said Hoyano.
"I think this will probably be what we will see at least at the beginning of the flu season, but I would not say it excludes that maybe we will see something later."
Hoyano said he had received a shot a few weeks ago.
"This reduces the risk of getting flu and can also be passed on to other people," she said. "Prevention is one of the best decisions you can make with regard to influenza."
Good hygiene can also help remove flu, along with other respiratory viruses like colds, she said.
Flu Trends are worth $ 25, but are free for children aged six months to five years, people aged 65 and older, and those at high risk of complications from influenza due to heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.
Every year in Canada there are about 3,500 deaths related to influenza and 12,200 hospital stays.
The free vaccine is available from public health clinics, some doctors' offices, and most pharmacies. Those who are not eligible for the free vaccine can purchase it at most pharmacies and travel clinics.
At a clinic for flu vaccines near you, go to immunizebc.ca/clinics.
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